Torino vs. Sampdoria preview: Samp look to build on big win to end Toro's purple patch

Valerio Pennicino

An intriguing mid-table clash should be played out on Saturday evening as Sampdoria come off the back of their demolition of Pescara to take on Torino, unbeaten in six.

Following their 2-2 draw against Inter at the San Siro last week, Torino are now unbeaten in six matches. Giampiero Ventura has got Il Granata excelling at a brand of free flowing, counter attacking football that had Inter on the ropes on a number of occasions last week. A reborn Alessio Cerci and Mario Santana are constant threats down the wings whilst top scorer Rolando Bianchi provides a constant threat and Riccardo Meggiorini, a surprise starter against Inter, chipped in with both of his side's goals. If Meggiorini can maintain a run of form, it could propel Il Toro into the top half, as Bianchi has shouldered the goalscoring burden alone for much of the season. They currently sit in 12th, three points above Cagliari and Sampdoria level in 13th and 14th and only one behind Chievo in 11th however there is a four point gap to Parma in 10th and Torino need to make sure this does not grow any further to have any top half ambitions.

Sampdoria should come into this match brimming with confidence following their 6-0 destruction of Pescara last week. Mauro Icardi announced himself in a big way with a stunning four goal display, prompting a rumoured deadline-day swoop from Napoli that was ultimately unsuccessful. Their big victory over Pescara only goes to emphasise I Blucerchiati's inconsistent form in 2013, beating Juventus, drawing with AC Milan then conspiring to lose a seemingly routine encounter with rock-bottom Siena, before their obliteration of the Delfini. A large victory like that coupled with a sparkling individual display from Icardi could be exactly what Sampdoria need to ignite some consistency however it is unfortunate that they now come up against a side who have been the model of just that over the past month.

Torino's recent form and the fact they are at home should mark them down as favourites in this encounter however the last time Sampdoria travelled to Turin, they came away with three points from the Juventus Stadium. Whilst confidence may be high at Sampdoria, Torino will not provide nearly as many opportunities as Pescara did last week and whilst all mid-table encounters are difficult to predict, I think Torino will be disappointed if they don't emerge with all the points.

Torino could welcome back long-term absentee Angelo Ogbonna to the heart of defence, whilst Sampdoria will be without the influential Pedro Obiang due to suspension. Enzo Maresca and Gaetano Berardi could return whilst Angelo Palombo has a question mark over him following a knock last week.

Torino Injuries and Suspensions:

In doubt: Angelo Ogbonna, Abou Diop

Sampdoria Injuries and Suspensions:

Out: Pedro Obiang (suspended). In doubt: Enzo Maresca, Gaetano Berardi, Angelo Palombo

Match Date/Time: Saturday 2nd February 2013, 18:00 local, 12:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Olimpico di Torino

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy), beIN Sport en Espanol, RAI Internazionale (USA)

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