Sampdoria v Udinese-Stadio Luigi Ferraris at 14:00
Sampdoria has rolled back the years in 2017/18 and an overdue return to European competition could be on the cards if the Blucerchiati continue their upward trajectory under the astute leadership of Marco Giampaolo.
The former Empoli coach has given his squad license to express themselves. From relegation battlers to mid-table occupants, Il Doria is making small steps in the right direction. Champions League qualification might be considered “science fiction” to Giampaolo but the Europa League is well within range.
The last term draws held Sampdoria back. There were 12 in all but this season the Blucerchiati are finding ways to win rather than share the spoils, particularly at their fortress Stadio Luigi Ferraris base. Sunday’s hosts have suffered just seven defeats in 32 (22%) outings at their Genoese home since the start of last season.
However, arguably most impressive has been Il Doria’s continual rebirth having seen a clutch of star players pilfered at home and abroad. Milan Skriniar, Luis Muriel, and Patrik Schick – mainstays of last season’s side moved on but the likes of Ivan Stinic, Duvan Zapata, Gianluca Caprari and Gaston Ramirez have serenely integrated into Sampdoria’s squad.
Sampdoria’s excellent campaign
Sampdoria is sitting in sixth having started the campaign superbly. At one stage Giampaolo’s group had collected a club record tally of points with their best performances being saved for the atmospheric surroundings of their Marassi home.
The Blucerchiati often defy the data but continue to churn out positive results on home soil and the hosts will believe they’re well capable of clinching a 10th league triumph this term on Sunday.
Sampdoria has tabled eight victories from their 10 meetings with teams below them in the table at the Marassi, scoring at least twice on eight occasions. With Il Doria netting two or more goals in 18/32 (56%) fixtures here since the beginning of last season, their enterprising approach should serve them well.
So much so, backing Sampdoria to overcome a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle at 2.05 is too big to ignore. Giampaolo’s group have recorded victories in eight of their 10 tussles when welcoming clubs currently below them in the Serie A standings.
Udinese struggling in 2018
Udinese axed veteran head coach Gigi Delneri after picking up only four wins from their opening 12 Serie A matches. The club was stale, going nowhere fast and desperately required someone new, young and with fresh ideas to help them out of their concerning malaise.
Former full-back Massimo Oddo was given the gig at the Stadio Friuli. He’d enjoyed great success with Pescara and arrived in buoyant mood, eager to make a difference with the Zebrette. Having initially taken 16 points from his opening seven games, Udinese’s form has dropped off in 2018.
A narrow 1-0 success at Genoa is their only victory this calendar year with the visitors pitching up on the back three defeats in five, notching just twice. With the Zebrette losing 10 of their previous 13 at top-six teams, Sunday looks a good opportunity to oppose Oddo’s men once more.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sampdoria -0.50 at 1.930
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