MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP heads to Italy this weekend with goals on the agenda in Serie A.
Sampdoria v Sassuolo | Sunday 17th December 2017, 14:00
Sampdoria’s record-breaking start to the Serie A season has stalled since the Blucerchiati produced a mesmeric performance to down defending champions Juventus in mid-November.
Marco Giampaolo’s men have collected a solitary point from trips to Bologna (0-3) and Cagliari (2-2) whilst suffering last-minute heartache when losing at home to Lazio (1-2) in their last outing at their famous Stadio Luigi Ferraris base.
In midweek Il Doria rung the changes for their Coppa Italia tie with Fiorentina – seven in total – as they exited the competition but two of the goals their much-changed team conceded in a 3-2 reverse in Florence came via contentious penalties.
Post-match Giampaolo was obviously frustrated at the refereeing decisions but also bemoaned the lack of intensity in his team’s first-half performance. Sampdoria hit the woodwork twice as they pushed for a way back and the Blucerchiati boss believes his side will be ready to make amends on Sunday.
And back at their Genoese home, Samp rarely suffer. Indeed, since the start of last season, the home side have suffered only six defeats in 26 (23%) outings at the Marassi, including six wins from seven outings as hosts this term, as well as the ‘away’ derby with Genoa.
Il Doria always take a positive approach to matches at the Marassi and their enterprising, attacking football often pays dividends. Since the start of last season, Sampdoria have scored at least twice in 15/26 (59%) of fixtures here and at least three times in four of their most recent five encounters on home soil.
Sassuolo axed head coach Cristian Bucchi following a home defeat to 10-man Verona at the end of November, a result that left the Neroverdi with only 11 points from 14 fixtures. A thumping 3-0 loss at Fiorentina followed but the visitors did pocket a 2-1 home triumph over Crotone last time out.
The result represented Sassuolo’s maiden victory at their Mapei Stadium home this season but new boss Beppe Iachini admitted it was still very early days for the Neroverdi with plenty of work still to be done if they’re to lift themselves away from relegation concerns.
The guests pitch up on the back of five losses in their last seven and have claimed only four triumphs all season, with all four arriving against clubs inside the bottom seven. Indeed, the Neroverdi have taken a sole point from a possible 30 against sides in 13th and above (W0-D1-L9).
The betting angle
It’s probably already quite clear that I’m keen on Sampdoria in this meeting but I’m going to venture into one of 188BET’s unique markets for my preferred angle of attack. We can back Samp in the Double Chance market alongside Over 2.5 Goals at 21/20.
Considering 16/26 (62%) of Sampdoria’s home matches since the start of last season and 19/27 (70%) of Sassuolo’s road trips in the same sample have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, a goal-heavy game should be on the cards.
The visitors will certainly pose a threat in the forward areas. Sassuolo have only failed to score in three of those 27 away days with 20/27 (74%) paying-out for Both Teams To Score backers and 18/26 (69%) following suit when Sampdoria welcome Serie A sides to the Marassi.
Sampdoria v Sassuolo – Sampdoria double chance and Over 2.5 Goals (21/20 188BET)