Sampdoria v Roma – Stadio Luigi Ferraris at 19:45 Live at BT Sport

Sampdoria finished just two points clear of relegation in 2015/16 so a more comfortable 10th-placed return last term – 16 points clear of danger – under the astute leadership of Marco Giampaolo was welcomed.

Although the Blucerchiati were drawn specialists – sharing the spoils on 12 occasions – they remained a tough unit to beat at their Stadio Luigi Ferraris base. Indeed, since the start of last season Samp have suffered only five defeats in 20 (25%) outings in their Genoese home.

Centre-half Milan Skriniar earned a move to Inter Milan in the summer whilst impressive strikers Luis Muriel and Patrik Schick also moved on. However, the club moved quickly to capture forward Gianluca Caprari and Gaston Ramirez to fill the attacking void and left-back Ivan Strinić also arrived at the club.

So far so good for Giampaolo with Sampdoria recording back-to-back Serie A triumphs against newcomers Benevento and away at Fiorentina, although it should be noted that both opponents are amongst the five teams still pointless this term, with the former already shipping five goals.

Nevertheless, the Blucerchiati have been pleased with their performance levels and will be looking forward to Saturday evening’s contest with Roma. Only one of their aforementioned five home losses arrived by a margin of two goals or more with Juventus, Lazio and Milan all having work hard to overcome Samp here.

Visitors Roma claimed the runners-up spot for the third time in four seasons the last term but it’s been a summer of change with Francesco Totti retiring and head coach Luciano Spalletti leaving for Inter. Sevilla’s famed sporting director Monchi has also arrived in the capital to replace Walter Sabatini with impressive young manager Eusebio Di Francesco taking the head coach’s reigns.

It’s early days yet but already there are slight reasons for concern about the project. De Francesco’s achievements on a limited budget at Sassuolo were extraordinary but it undoubtedly take time for the new leadership to settle and the Giallorossi’s two early displays haven’t completely convinced.

An unconvincing 1-0 win at Atalanta was followed by a rather better performance at home to Inter, but a 3-1 defeat. The departure of Mo Salah could hit the guests hard with the Egyptian the star threat in attacking areas and thus far, Roma has appeared a little lacking in the final-third.

Meanwhile, the emergency at right-back seems to be over following the recoveries of Bruno Peres, Alessandro Florenzi, and Rick Karsdorp but Federico Fazio might be rested after playing twice for Argentina in the international break, meaning another defensive reshuffle.

Roma lost five of their first 12 road games last term and recorded W4-D1-L5 when visiting teams in 11th or above. The odds of an away success look far too short to support on Saturday night so I’ll happily oppose the Giallorossi and back Sampdoria with a +0.50 start on the Asian Handicap line instead.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sampdoria +0.50 at 2.060

By @MarkOHaire

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