Unbeaten Sampdoria home in on record start
If Sampdoria beat lowly Siena at home on Sunday the Genoa based club will set a new club record of four straight wins at the start of a Serie A campaign. A fourth straight win would give them the belief that they are capable of challenging for a Champions League place.sports Updated: Sep 18, 2009 14:20 IST
If Sampdoria beat lowly Siena at home on Sunday the Genoa based club will set a new club record of four straight wins at the start of a Serie A campaign.
Sampdoria sit alongside neighbours Genoa and giants Juventus as the only teams with 100-percent records after three matches and while that will come as little surprise for the other two, for Sampdoria it constitutes a considerable improvement.
A fourth straight win would give them the belief that they are capable of challenging for a Champions League place and top four finish.
With the big three of Inter Milan, Juve and AC Milan expected to battle for the title, there is always the possiblility of fighting for fourth place in Italy.
AS Roma would usually be expected to take that fourth spot but they started badly with two straight defeats before a fortuitous late win at Siena a week ago.
It means that the likes of Fiorentina, fourth last season, Genoa, Lazio and even Sampdoria can realistically dream about qualifying for Champions League football.
Driven by former Real Madrid forward Antonio Cassano, Sampdoria are a team moving in the right direction according to defender Marco Rossi.
"We're working well and game after game we're improving our understanding and we're managing to put into practice what the manager (Luigi Del Neri) is teaching us," he said.
It's a good time for the city of Genoa whose other team are sitting top on goals scored above Juve and goal difference over their neighbours.
Genoa are also going great guns in the Europa League, having beaten Slavia Prague 2-0 at home on Thursday.
And all this despite selling two crucial players -- Diego Milito and Thiago Motta -- to champions Inter in the summer.
However, coach Gianpiero Gasperini believes his team is equipped to even improve on last season's fifth place finish.
"For us this is a new season, we've tried to substitute the two departures in the best way possible and we're happy with what we're doing," he said.
"It's a team that is doing a great job in terms of reaching our objectives and taking little steps forward."
Genoa travel to lowly Chievo in what on paper looks a tricky contest but certainly one they will be favourites to win and possibly maintain top spot.
Juve look to have a much easier tie at home to promoted Livorno but the minnows held Milan to a 0-0 draw a week ago and the Old Lady of Turin are missing several key players.
Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro, club captain Alessandro Del Piero and midfielders Felipe Melo, Momo Sissoko and Tiago are definitely out with Brazilian playmaker Diego a major doubt.
It means the heart of Juve's midfield, their most experienced defender and their best creative spark will all be missing, and that after a tough midweek Champions League clash against Bordeaux.
Inter face a difficult trip to Sardinia to play Cagliari following their draw with Barcelona on Wednesday while Milan will be looking to continue the improvements they showed in their 2-1 Champions League victory at Marseille.
Veteran striker Filippo Inzaghi, the two goal hero against the French, should retain his place ahead of Ronaldinho in the starting line-up.
And he believes the club are bouncing back from the 4-0 derby defeat to Inter three weeks ago and subsequent draw at Livorno.
"Milan shouldn't set goals this year but instead live day by day and improve," said Inzaghi.
"We started well (a 2-1 win at Siena) and then there was the big blow in the derby and an unspectacular game at Livorno. Now we've regrouped and we need to find some consistency."