It's only the third week of the season, but we've already got our first inter-city derby. Sampdoria and Genoa are not among the best in Serie A this season, and both are simply aiming to stay in the top division. That is not to say that these two teams don't have talented individuals that could make this an interesting game. But, if the last few years are anything to go by, what we will see in the Derby della Lanterna is millions of fouls, a red card or two, and few glimpses of quality football.
Sunday's match is the 60th Genovese derby in Serie A. So far, Sampdoria have 21 wins and Genoa 15, while 24 games ended as draws. However, over the last few seasons, since both teams returned to Serie A, Genoa have been more successful, winning five, losing three and drawing one -- their last clash in April.
Neither team recorded a win in the first two rounds of the season. Sampdoria, who plays host in the stadium that both teams call home, lost to Juventus 1-0 in the first round and drew with Bologna 2-2 in the second. Genoa have yet to put a point on the board, with losing to Inter Milan 2-0 to start the season, followed by a 5-2 thumping by Fiorentina. Such performances have produced rumors that Genoa president Enrico Preziosi might sack Fabio Liverani. But a win against their arch rivals could save the young grifone coach -- for a few weeks, at least.
Despite not having won so far this season, Samp seems to be in much better shape, and with an experienced coach like Delio Rossi, they are the likely favorites for this match. And they will try to do everything they can to create more problems for their rivals.
'Doria are also lucky in that Rossi has all his players available, and will only have to choose whether to use Birkir Bjarnason from the first minute, or give starts to Renan or Roberto Soriano, both recently back from injury. Andrea Petagna, the talented striker on loan from AC Milan, will most probably warm the bench and wait for his chance in the second half.
Liverani, on the other hand, will be forced to decide whether to give Mattia Perin another start. The young goalkeeper definitely has talent, but perhaps a round or two on the bench would help him gain focus again, after conceding five goals to Fiorentina last round.
Sampdoria injuries and suspensions
Genoa injuries and suspensions
Antonelli (injured); Marchese, Samparisi (suspension)
Sampdoria (3-5-2): Da Costa, Gastadello, Palombo, Costa, De Silvestri, Obiang, Krsticic, Bjarnason, Regini, Eder, Gabbiadini
Genoa (3-5-2): Perin; Gamberini, Portanova, Manfredini, Vrsaljko, Kucka, Lodi, Matuzalem, Antonini, Calaiò, Gilardino
Match Date / Time: Sunday, September 15 at 8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
TV: BeIN Sport (USA), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)