Sampdoria's topsy-turvy 2013 continued last week with a goalless draw against fellow mid-table battlers Torino. Confidence should have been high going into that encounter, as they demolished Pescara 6-0 the previous week, however I Blucerchiati looked short on ideas in the final third and lacked a real midfield presence. The latter may be solved by the return from suspension of Pedro Obiang, the young Spanish midfielder has been a key man for Sampdoria this season and it hasn't gone unnoticed, allegedly attracting attention from a host of suitors across Europe. Another player attracting attention is Mauro Icardi, especially after his four-goal haul against Pescara, however he has picked up a knock and is a doubt for this tie.
AS Roma embark on a new post-Zeman era, after the charistmatic Czech coach was given his marching orders last week. I Giallorossi have failed to register a league victory this season and a 4-2 home defeat to struggling Cagliari, complete with a goalkeeping howler from Mauro Goicoechea, was the final straw for the board. Long-time assistant Aurelio Andreazzoli takes interim charge until the end of the season with the side currently sat in eighth, only one point from Catania in seventh but five from Fiorentina in sixth and with an improving Udinese just one point behind. Following Goicoechea's howler, there is a chance Maarten Stekelenburg could be restored in goal after his deadline day move to Fulham was scuppered with the Dutchman in mid-air on a flight bound for West London.
It will be interesting to see which Sampdoria side shows up, the enterprising attackers who took apart Pescara or the rather drab side who drew with Torino and lost to Siena earlier in the month. With Icardi a doubt, goalscoring duties may have to be taken on by Maxi Lopez however with the return of Obiang they are sure to be a stronger prospect in midfield. It will also be intriguing to see how Andreazzoli sets up his side, having served under Luciano Spalletti, Claudio Ranieri, Vincenzo Montella, Luis Enrique and Zeman. This covers a wide variety of philosophies and playing styles and so the question will be whether the interim coach decides to go for something entirely his own or take his cues from one of his previous bosses.
Sampdoria will be without Angelo Palombo and long-term absentee Eder, whilst Icardi is a doubt as is winger Marcelo Estigarribia. Roma will be without the suspended Panagiotis Tachtsidis, whilst Mattia Destro is out for a couple of months following knee surgery and Federico Balzaretti is still on the injury table.
Sampdoria Injuries and Suspensions:
Out: Angelo Palombo, Eder (injured); In Doubt: Mauro Icardi, Marcelo Estigarribia
Roma Injuries and Suspensions:
Out: Mattia Destro, Federico Balzaretti (injured), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (suspended); In Doubt: Marquinhos, Simone Perrotta
Match Date/Time: Sunday 10th February 2013, 14:00 local, 08:00 E.T.
Venue: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
TV: Sky Calcio 2 (Italy)