After their 0-0 derby draw with Lazio last week, Roma second in the Serie A table, nine points from leaders Juventus, albeit with a game in hand due to their match with Parma two weeks ago being abandoned due to the challenging weather conditions. They have still only lost once in the league this season at the hands of Juve however in midweek they were unceremoniously dumped out of the Coppa Italia at the semi final stage, losing 3-0 away to Napoli after edging the first leg 3-2. After such a crushing defeat within reach of the final, especially after triumphing in the first leg, Rudi Garcia will need to re-motivate his side to secure second spot in the league and automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage, especially with Napoli and Fiorentina circling. The truth is that the Scudetto is now unlikely with Juventus having built up such a lead and looking pretty unstoppable home and away and with the Coppa out of the window, securing second will be the priority.
After a shocking start to the season, in which they failed to record a league victory until late October, Sampdoria have had something of a resurgence under Sinisa Mihajlović, going five matches unbeaten in November and December and losing only one of their last five matches and even that was to invincible-looking Juventus. The turnaround has been stark - the Blucerchiati are now eleven points clear of the relegation places and only five from Parma in seventh. The only worry for Sampdoria coming into this specific fixture is that, in 2014 they have lost twice in the league and once in the Coppa and each of these losses came against the top three sides with Roma having knocked them out of the Coppa 1-0 early in January. Whilst European football may be just beyond them, Sampdoria will nevertheless be pleased at a steady mid-table finish given the start they endured however a victory against Roma may just be beyond them.
Roma injuries and suspensions
Out: Dodô, Federico Balzaretti (injured). In doubt: Rafael Toloi.
Sampdoria injuries and suspensions
Out: Maxi López (injured). In doubt: Andrea Costa.
Roma: De Sanctis, Maicon, Benatia, Leandro Castan, Torosidis, De Rossi, Pjanić, Strootman, Totti, Gervinho, Destro
Sampdoria: Da Costa, Formasier, Gastaldello, Regini, Palombo, Obiang, Soriano, Gabbiadini, Eder, Okaka
Match date/time: Sunday 16th February 2014, 20:45 local, 14:45 E.T.
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
TV: Sky Sport 1, Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy); beIN Sport, RAI Internazionale (USA); BT Sport 1 (UK).