Juventus - Sampdoria Preview: Old Lady hope for positive return after Christmas break
The Serie A holders went into the holiday season eight point clear in Serie A, and will be looking to keep up winning ways as they host the newly-promoted Sampdoria
By Daniel Edwards
Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres
Isla, Vidal, De Ceglie
De Silvestri, Gastaldello, Palombo, Costa
Krsticic, Obiang, Poli, Estigarribia
Mirko Vucinic looks likely to be a big absence for Juventus as they continue their quest to claim a second consecutive Serie A title in the first encounter of 2013. The Montenegro international is struggling with an ankle injury, meaning that Antonio Conte is likely to put his faith in the attacking duo of Alessandro Matri and Sebastian Giovinco.
Stephan Lichtsteiner is another enforced absentee for the Bianconeri, as he serves a suspension. Mauricio Isla will be entrusted with his position on the flank, with Juve otherwise able to put out a full-strength side in front of their own fans.
Relegation battlers Sampdoria, meanwhile, will have to do without captain and midfield anchor Enzo Maresca, who is unavailable through injury. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero is also fighting to prove fitness ahead of Sunday's kick-off, but Tommaso Berni is standing by to take the Argentina No. 1's place between the posts.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus currently lie top of Italy's top flight, having racked up an impressive 14 wins in their first 18 fixtures. That run leaves them eight points ahead of nearest challengers Lazio.
- The last time the Old Lady tasted defeat was a 1-0 reverse away to AC Milan in November, followed by four straight wins before the league rested for the holiday season.
- That match, as well as two 0-0 draws against Fiorentina and Lazio, represent the only times Antonio Conte's men have failed to hit the net in a Serie A clash.
- Sampdoria won their place in the top flight in 2011-12 thanks to a play-off victory, but since promotion have won just five times and currently sit 15th in the standings.
- Enzo Maresca and Maxi Lopez (pictured, right) share the club's top scorer title with just three goals each after 18 matches.
- The last time these two sides met was in January 2011. Honours were shared in a 0-0 draw, with the other meeting of that season (3-3) also ending in a tie.
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Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 3-0 Sampdoria
- 30.57 %
Juventus 2-0 Sampdoria
- 18.93 %
Juventus 3-1 Sampdoria
- 10.97 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Aug 24, 2013||Sampdoria 0 - Juventus 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 18, 2013||Sampdoria 3 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 6, 2013||Juventus 1 - Sampdoria 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 23, 2011||Sampdoria 0 - Juventus 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 12, 2010||Juventus 3 - Sampdoria 3|
|Dec 1, 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Juventus 3 - FC Copenhagen 1||UCL|
|Nov 24, 2013||Livorno 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Juventus 3 - SSC Napoli 0||ITA1|
|Nov 5, 2013||Juventus 2 - Real Madrid CF 2||UCL|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|1||Angelo Da Costa||Goalkeeper|
|29||Lorenzo De Silvestri||Defender|
The striker suffered through the first half of the season, partly through a lack of continuity in the starting line-up and partly from his own failings in front of goal. He will be desperate to add more to his tally of three strikes as Juve chase another title in the new year.
The journeyman keeper looks set to be thrust into action thanks to the absence of Sergio Romero, and he will have to be at his best to keep Juventus' free-scoring stars at bay if Sampdoria hope to take something from Turin.
After a positive start, Sampdoria have been in freefall during 2012-13, losing an incredible 10 of their last 13 matches. It's hard to see their fortunes changing against an in-form Juve, who should record a comfortable home victory to keep their lead at the summit.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed