Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin
12.09.2010, 18:30 kick-off
In the 2009-10 season, Sampdoria broke into the top-4 after a long wait- after a gap of almost two decades, the Blucerchiati was back among Europe’s elite. However, their hopes of playing in the Champions League main round were squashed, as they went down to German outfit Werder Bremen; Werder edged the tie 5-4 after two exciting matches.
Juventus, after a shambolic season in 2009-10, made wholesale changes in the management. The Old Lady carried on a mini-coup in Sampdoria, as they ensnared coach Luigi Delneri, sporting director Giuseppe Marotta as well as a host of support staff from the latter.
The first game was a sharp contrast for both the teams. The Bianconeri looked listless and insipid against an inspired Bari team, losing 1-0. Sampdoria, on the other hand, dominated Lazio and won comfortably by two goals.
Juventus fans will have fond memories of this fixture in the last season. It was a much anticipated fixture as Juventus, then third in the table, faced Sampdoria who were in second position. Coach Ciro Ferrara fielded a 4-2-3-1 with the Giovinco – Diego – Camoranesi trio supporting lone striker Amauri. Sissoko and Melo did an excellent double marking on Cassano, as Juventus ran riot in the Sampdoria defence. At the end, it finished 5-1 to Juventus.
A repeat of this score-line is highly unlikely. Each of the three attacking midfielders in that game has left Turin, and the new look team plays a strict 4-4-2. Sampdoria are clearly the stronger team coming into this tie. Antonio “Fantantonio” Cassano has proved Lippi’s mistake of not including him for the 2010 World Cup. His virtuoso performances against Estonia and Faroe Islands in Euro’12 qualifiers paved the way for six vital points for the Azzuris. His striker partner Giampaolo Pazzini looks to have started from where he left last season; his three goals in two matches against Werder included an early candidate for goal of the season.
Domenico De Carlo is likely to field a 4-4-2, with Cassano partnering Pazzini upfront. Reto Ziegler and Daniel Dessena combine well on the left flank, with Angelo Palombo adding muscle to the midfield. Sampdoria’s main strength last season was Cassano and Pazzini’s combination. Cassano’s lack of form in mid-season saw the emergence of Nicola Pozzi, who slotted in admirably.
Juventus’ campaign got off to a poor start, as they slumped to a loss at Bari. Their performance did not show any signs of improvement over last season’s horror show.The Bianconeri starting XI included Milos Krasic and Fabio Quagliarella, two players who had barely practiced with the others before. The defensive shape was easily lost, and the offside trap was faulty. Claudio Marchisio’s indifferent play in the midfield meant that Juventus never really controlled the most important part of the pitch.
Injuries continue to plague the old lady, as Martinez and Marchisio both got injured after the Bari game and will miss out against Sampdoria. Amauri is also out injured. However, long absentee Vincenzo Iaquinta has recovered and may fit into the grand scheme of things.
This match will be won and lost in the midfield. With both the teams fielding a four-man midfield, the clash will be enthralling. Felipe Melo has performed well so far in this season, but he will have his task cut out against the Palombo – Guberti combination. Sampdoria would look to exploit the weakness in Juventus’ left flank, while Juventus would like to stifle the Sampdoria midfield to cut deliveries to Cassano and Pazzini. Pazzini can miss the game due to injury, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Sampdoria president Ricardo Garrone has already fired the first salvo by saying that he would never forgive Marotta for joining Juventus. Both Marotta and Delneri can expect a hostile reception when they travel back to their old club.
Last Five Encounters
Juventus 5-1 Sampdoria (2009-10)
Sampdoria 1-0 Juventus (2009-10)
Juventus 1-1 Sampdoria (2008-09)
Sampdoria 0-0 Juventus (2008-09)
Sampdoria 3-3 Juventus (2007-08)
Juventus 1-1 Sampdoria
Cassano can make all the difference…
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For
Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria)
Talent wise, Cassano is a natural heir to Fransesco Totti in the lineage of Italian fantasisti. His explosive temper and racy lifestyle had caused his downfall in the past. Since his move to Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Fantantonio’s career has again taken an upward curve. He is crucial to his team’s success; it was evident against Werder Bremen, as Sampdoria looked a different team after he came off. He capped his return in the Azzuri jersey with two scintillating performances in the Euro qualifiers. Cassano is a man in red hot form. Chiellini and Co. better watch out!