AC Milan - Sampdoria Preview: Allegri's men begin Serie A campaign against newly-promoted Blucerchiati
Ciro Ferrara's side travel to San Siro to play their first top-flight game since 2010-11 against a new-look Rossoneri, who begin life without a host of familiar faces
By Alex Mott
De Sciglio, Bonera, Zapata, Antonini
Flamini, Nocerino, Montolivo
De Silvestri, Gastaldello, Rossini, Costa
Munari, Tissone, Poli
Estigarribia, Maxi Lopez, Eder
AC Milan look set to give new signings Cristian Zapata, Riccardo Montolivo and Giampaolo Pazzini their debuts as they continue life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Antonio Cassano, who all moved on over the summer. Alexandre Pato, Philippe Mexes and Ignazio Abate are all set to miss out due to injury, as the Milanese giants hope to get their season off to the best possible start.
Vice-captain Christian Abbiati will start in goal, with youngster Mattia De Sciglio joining Daniele Bonera and Luca Antonini at the back. In midfield, last season's revelation Antonio Nocerino will look to continue where he left off, playing alongside new boy Montolivo and Mathieu Flamini.
Sampdoria, meanwhile, are injury free, with just Nicola Pozzi and goalkeeper Julian Da Costa unavailable due to suspension.
Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero is set to start in goal, marshalling a defence consisting of new signing Lorenzo De Silvestri, Daniele Gastaldello, Jonathan Rossini and summer arrival Andrea Costa.
Up front, there are three new players all vying to keep Samp in Serie A. Marcelo Estigarribia joins after impressing at Juventus last season, Maxi Lopez returns to San Siro to play against his old club, and Eder makes his debut after spending last year at Cesena.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Milan have won their last three games against Sampdoria, all by a 3-0 scoreline.
- The Rossoneri have lost just once on the opening day of the season in the last 10 years: a 2-1 defeat to Bologna in 2008.
- Massimiliano Allegri's side had the best attack in Serie A last season, scoring 74 goals.
- Milan and Sampdoria have met 111 times in the Italian top flight. The San Siro side have collected 54 wins to Samp's 28, with 29 draws.
- Maxi Lopez, who is due to start for Ferrara's side on Sunday, played just eight games for the Milanese giants last season, scoring one goal.
- The Genoa club boast a positive record on opening-day fixtures over the past four years: three wins and a draw.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 3-0 Sampdoria
- 19.41 %
AC Milan 2-0 Sampdoria
- 19.07 %
AC Milan 2-1 Sampdoria
- 11.82 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 23, 2014||Sampdoria 0 - AC Milan 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 28, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Sampdoria 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 13, 2013||Sampdoria 0 - AC Milan 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Aug 26, 2012||AC Milan 0 - Sampdoria 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 16, 2011||AC Milan 3 - Sampdoria 0|
|Apr 19, 2014||AC Milan 3 - Livorno 0||ITA1|
|Apr 13, 2014||AC Milan 1 - Catania 0||ITA1|
|Apr 7, 2014||Genoa 1 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|Mar 29, 2014||AC Milan 3 - Chievo 0||ITA1|
|Mar 26, 2014||Fiorentina 0 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|29||Lorenzo De Silvestri||Defender|
With the 28-year-old due to make his debut, it will be interesting to see how he gels with his team-mates and adapts to the Milan style of play. When given the chance to be the focal-point of a team, Pazzini could do well. And with Robinho and Boateng making runs around him, it's not outlandish to say the former Inter man could do well here.
After impressing last season on-loan at Inter, the 22-year-old returns to San Siro as the fulcrum of this Sampdoria team. His range of passing and vision were a rare bright spark for the Nerazzurri in 2011/12, and if Ciro Ferrara's side are to get anything from this game, the youngster will have produce everything he did in the previous campaign.
It is hard to see past the Rossoneri in this one. They may have lost three of their best players over the summer, but the spine of the side is still strong, and I expect them to over-run this Sampdoria team.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed