SAMPDORIA

v

JUVENTUS

Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genova
22.01.2010, 2:00:00 PM GMT

Luigi Delneri and Giuseppe Marotta return to the stadium where they performed a mini-miracle last season. Together they led Sampdoria to their first top-4 finish in almost one and half decade. These two have now joined Juventus and would be looking to outwit their old employers.

Both Juventus and Sampdoria have seen dodgy form in 2011. Juve lost its 18 match unbeaten streak with back to losses against Parma and Napoli. Worse, the old lady lost both matches by a three goal margins. Sampdoria, on the other, had defeated Roma but lost to Lazio. Both the teams have won in Coppa Italia – Sampdoria were stretched by Udinese in mid-week. The match ended 2-2 in normal time with Samp winning it after a penalty shoot-out. So fatigue can be an issue for the Blucerchiati in this match. Sampdoria have lost just one home match this season, so it won’t be easy for Juve to get three points in Genova.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Sampdoria

With each passing round it looks more and more likely that 1990-91 Scudetto winners will not make it into top-4 this season. The club has somewhat lost its ambition after Delneri-Marotta-Patarici trio left. Sampdoria refused to renew Antonio Cassano’s contract as he moved to AC Milan. It is highly probable that another superstar – Giampaolo Pazzini will move out of Luigi Ferraris next summer. The Blucerchiati crashed out in the qualifiers of Champion’s league and were knocked out in group stages of the Europa League.

Football Fans Know Better

Sampdoria will be missing dependable stopper Gastaldello, and Pazzini will be the key man for them upfront. With six goals in the league so far, Pazzini hasn’t quite managed to replicate his form of last season but he is still a dangerous player. Kiko Macheda joined ‘Doria on loan from Manchester United and bagged a goal against Udinese in mid-week. He had a reputation of being a game changer at Old Trafford and can play an important part in tomorrow’s encounter.

Angelo Palombo is Sampdoria’s most important player in the heart of midfield. His battle with Sissoko in the centre of the park might decide which way this match will tilt. Guberti is another crucial component in ‘Doria’s game-play. Against Werder Bremen in UCL qualifier, Sampdoria dominated the match till he was on the field. Once Guberti was substituted they lost their way. He has blown hot and cold this season – a reason behind his team’s inconsistency.

Juve’s centre-back pairing of Chiellini and Bonucci has looked a bit shaky in last 3 matches – something Pazzini can take full advantage of.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Curci; Dessena, Volta, Lucchini, Ziegler; Koman, Tissone, Palombo, Guberti; Pozzi, Pazzini.

Juventus

The biggest news for Juventus is last few weeks has been the return of Gigi Buffon. After missing out for a long time, ‘Superman” finally returned in last week’s Coppa Italia match against Catania. If there’s one player that can motivate players when the team is down, it is Buffon.

Gigi Delneri is most likely to retain his 4-4-2 formation. Amauri is fit and will pair up with Alessandro Del Piero up top. Felipe Melo is still out with a 3 match suspension, so Momo Sissoko will pair up with Aquilani in central midfield. Krasic will man the right flank with Claudio Marchisio playing on left wing.

Superman is back!

Juve’s will be looking to exploit Sampdoria’s weakness on the flanks through Milos Krasic. The Serbian has been one of the driving forces behind Juve this season with his pace and ability to cut back from the wings. Coach Delneri has been trying to improve his defensive work, which seems to have brought some results. Krasic has been tracking back when required in last few games.

Juventus will be hoping to see Amauri finally breaking his scoring duck against Sampdoria. He hasn’t scored a Serie A goal since 14th February 2010. Amauri will be boosted by the fact that his past record against Sampdoria is pretty decent, having scored thrice against them. He scored a brace last season when Juve thumped ‘Doria 5-1. Del Piero is suffering from a flu and it’s not yet confirmed whether he will start.

Juventus will miss Luca Toni, Iaquinta, Rinaudo, Quagliarella and Paolo De Ceglie due to injuries.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Buffon; Sorensen, Bonucci, Chiellini, Traore; Krasic, Sissoko, Aquilani, Marchisio; Amauri, Del Piero.

Result of First Leg

Juventus and Sampdoria played out an exciting 3-3 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. Pozzi gave the visitors a 0-1 lead after 36 minutes. Juve hit back through Marchisio and Pepe to make it 2-1. It was at this time that the Cassano show began. Fantantonio created havoc in the Juve defence as he made it 2-2 on 64th minute. Quagliarella scored his first Juventus goal to make it 3-2 three minutes later. However, Pozzi grabbed his second goal of the match on the 73rd minute to make 3-3.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus): Buffon, arguably the greatest goal-keeper of all times, will add assurance and calmness to an often unsettled defence. Buffon’s command and coverage of his defenders is unmatched, as he keeps communicating with his defence for the entire 90 minutes. He made a typically sharp one-handed save against Catania, thus underscoring that fact that he is fully fit. With Buffon in goal, both Juve fans and his team mates will feel safer.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Sampdoria 1-2 Juventus