The first of two Genovese derbies in November kicks off on Sunday night, with Sampdoria 'hosting' Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
The Derby della Lanterna is an intriguing one, coming early in the Serie A season, with seventh-placed Sampdoria already five points ahead of Genoa in 15th, although they have played a game more than their rivals.
Sampdoria are a side in great form and, prior to their 1-0 win over Salernitana in the midweek Coppa Italia fixture, showed exactly why. Claudio Ranieri's men followed their impressive 3-0 dismantling of Lazio with a shock 3-1 win away to Atalanta.
Fabio Quagliarella, aging like a fine Neapolitan wine, opened the scoring with an excellent near-post finish in the 13th minute. He missed a penalty to make it 2-0 before half time, but Morten Thorsby spared his blushes with a headed goal on the hour mark.
Aided by VAR, Duvan Zapata scored from the spot in the 80th minute to reduce the arrears, but it was in vain as Jakub Jankto scored in injury time to end the game with a 3-1 scoreline and plenty of plaudits for Sampdoria.
Genoa arrested their poor form by defeating Catanzaro 2-1 in the Coppa Italia, but given the quality of their opposition, it is of little consequence. Grifone boss Rolando Maran will be far more perturbed by his side's abject performance against Inter Milan last week.
Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D'Ambrosio were on hand to give the Nerazzuri a 2-0 win, but Genoa barely threatened as they limped to a demoralizing defeat.
Sampdoria vs Genoa Head-to-Head
Genoa defeated Sampdoria for the first time in four years earlier this year in July, a crucial 2-1 win late in the 2019-20 season.
Sampdoria have had the dominance in recent times though, winning six of the last 10. Genoa have managed two wins and two draws in that timeframe, with their other victory coming in May 2016.
Sampdoria form guide: L-W-W-W-W
Genoa form guide: W-L-D-L-W
Sampdoria vs Genoa Team News
Claudio Ranieri will be without Manolo Gabbiadini for the derby, with the striker still recovering. Albin Ekdal and Antonio Candreva took part in training with the squad initially and by themselves later in the day, so they are a doubt for this game.
Having rested all of his starting lineup against Salernitana in the cup, Ranieri's charges should have fresh legs and keep the same winning formation. Adrien Silva could replace Albin Ekdal if the Swiss midfielder is unable to start.
Injured: Manolo Gabbiadini
Doubtful: Antonio Candreva, Albin Ekdal
There was welcome relief for Genoa boss Rolando Maran, as the last of the 17 players who had tested positive for COVID-19 recovered, with the club now free from coronavirus. Stefano Sturaro is still out injured, but most of the squad is available to play, albeit lacking some match fitness.
Domenico Criscito, Andrea Masiello and Davide Biraschi played the full 90 minutes of the Coppa Italia game, although captain Criscito may start in the crucial derby. Mattia Destro may return to the lineup after having played 45 minutes in the Coppa Italia.
Injured: Stefano Sturaro
Sampdoria vs Genoa Predicted XI
Sampdoria Predicted XI (4-4-2): Emil Audero (GK); Bartosz Bereszynski, Lorenzo Tonelli, Maya Yoshida, Tommaso Augello; Jakub Jankto, Adrien Silva, Morten Thorsby, Mikkel Damsgaard; Gaston Ramirez, Fabio Quagliarella
Genoa Predicted XI (3-5-2): Mattia Perin (GK), Edoardo Goldaniga, Cristian Zapata, Domenico Criscito; Paolo Ghiglione, Valon Behrami, Milan Badelj, Ivan Radovanovic, Marko Pjaca; Mattia Destro, Goran Pandev
Sampdoria vs Genoa Prediction
Despite Genoa escaping from the shadow of coronavirus, they still remain a side in poor form going into the derby. Yes, the old cliche of "form goes out the window for a derby" is applicable, but it's hard to see Grifone getting anything from this game.
Sampdoria are in excellent form at the moment, with Fabio Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez combining beautifully, and they ought to score with ease in this match.
Expect Samp to ultimately come out on top, although the derby will definitely be a hotly-contested encounter.
Prediction: Sampdoria 2-1 GenoaPublished 30 Oct 2020, 22:33 IST