Sampdoria vs Empoli by Enzo
Sampdoria was playing for the first thirty minutes up to their level against Lazio last Thursday, but were quickly in many problems with two late goals conceded in the first halftime. They overall did very little things in attack, being quite passive and deservedly losing the game without a goal scored, but also without proper goalscoring chances created.
With this defeat, they have now three matches on the run with no three pointer, as the team continues to be at the upper part of the table, currently at sixth position but with only three points less than Champions League fourth position where currently Lazio stands. Coming back to home matches, they want to break the streak of three draws there and win a game, easy or hard this time. Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic can't count at central defender Alessio Romagnoli (11/1) who is injured, so Matias Silvestre is expected to start once again. Left defender Djamel Mesbah (10/0) is on international duty for African Cup of Nations, while the club has signed on Saturday morning Luis Muriel but he shouldn't be playing already a day later.
Empoli, on the other side, continued with a series of draws, this time they come from a goalless draw at home against Verona on Tuesday evening. It actually was an open game, where both teams had their chances to score a goal, but the hosts might feel a bit more luckier with the draw, as they had to play with a man less for ten minutes when Tonelli was red carded.
As said, this was fifth draw in the league for them, as the team actually counts eight matches with no loss in all competitions. Their good form brought them out of the relegation battle and the team is currently at more than satisfying 13th position with six points more than red zone placed sides. Important central defender Lorenzo Tonelli (15/4) is suspended for this game following his red card against Verona and his place will be taken by Federico Barba in the last lineup. Defensive midfielder Tiberio Guarente (1/0) continues to be long term absentee, so coach Maurizio Sarri will probably field an unchanged squad other than Barba's name.
After a defeat and generally poor display of Sampdoria in Rome, they should bounce back with much better performance at home. The team has been quite trustful so far this season and I believe they will bounce back with a victory here, continuing also their good form in next matches and remaining top candidates for the European positions till the end.