Old Lady To Go Easy On Sampdoria
Sampdoria v Juventus
Juventus have an opportunity to seal a fourth successive league title with a victory over Sampdoria on Saturday and confirm what has been a given for quite some time.
It’s now five games without a win for Sampdoria following their disappointing 1-1 draw with Verona in midweek which leaves them fifth in the table and ahead of city rivals Genoa by just a single point in the final Europa League qualifying place.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side had looked capable of challenging for an unlikely Champions League spot until the turn of the year and lost only once in before January. However their lack of goals – only Torino have scored fewer in the top half of the table – and ability to turn draws into wins has proved their undoing despite boasting one of only two unbeaten home records in Serie A along with Saturday’s opponents.
Brazilian forward Eder is the club’s top scorer with nine league goals although he’s now out for the rest of the season after suffering ligament damage against Napoli last weekend.
Juve earned their first win in three games on Wednesday night with a hard-earned 3-2 win against Fiorentina in Florence with Carlos Tevez grabbing goals in each half to keep the Old Lady 14 points clear of Lazio in second.
Their loss in the Turin derby to Torino last weekend was only the third loss Juventus have suffered in Serie A this season and their bid to win the league has been more of a procession as no team has managed to match their consistency since Roma’s fine early season form never quite recovered after Massimo Allegri’s charges inflicted a first defeat on the Gillarossi in October. Juve have the best defensive record in the division, with clean sheets in nine of their last 12 and the same number of wins in those fixtures.
Tevez’s brace in midweek keeps him top of the Serie A scoring charts for the season with the ex-Manchester City striker now on 20 league goals and 28 in all competitions.
With Eder’s absence already a major problem for Mihailovic he’ll hope Luka Djordjevic is available although the forward remains doubtful. Allessandro De Vitis and Fabrizio Cacciatore are both out injured while Afriyie Acquah is suspended after his sending off in the draw with Verona.
Defenders Patrice Evra and Martin Caceres are both doubtful for the visitors with Paul Pogba, Romulo and Kwadwo Asamoah all expected to miss out. Allegri may also opt to make big changes to the side with their Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid coming in midweek.
Head to Head
Samp came away from Turin with a point following a 1-1 draw with Juventus last December.
There’s been absolutely nothing to choose between the sides in recent years with three wins apiece and seven draws in their last 13 encounters overall.
With one eye, at least, on their last four clash in Europe it’s difficult to see why Juve would be going all guns for a win with the title all but assured with a point so the 7/5 on an away win is hard to get behind with conviction.
At 23/10 a draw which will satisfy both sides stands out, the 6/10 on the double chance for Samp to win or draw looks a savvy punt for those happy to back at odds-on and the 4/6 on under 2.5 goals is worth a punt, while 2/1 on under 1.5 looks well-priced for value.