The Bianconeri are back to winning ways but could struggle in Genoa...
Loss, win, loss, win - Sampdoria are fast becoming an exhibition of inconsistency. The 3-0 hammering by Palermo in Sicily in their opening game of 2011 was followed by a narrow but important 2-1 defeat of Roma in Genoa.
Then came the 1-0 loss to Lazio in Rome that saw Domenico Di Carlo's side stay stagnant in mid-table with 26 points from 19 matches, a considerable eight points off a Europa League slot, the game in hand notwithstanding.
In midweek, though, the Blucerchiati were back winning, as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia by defeating Udinese 5-4 on penalties in Genoa. After dominating for most of the match, Sampdoria were forced to play extra-time after conceding a 90th minute equaliser and even went behind in the 30-minute session.
Hopes of securing a place in Europe next season is fast evaporating and one suspects that between now and the end of the campaign, it's going to be a case of consolidating a respectable mid-table position. Samp have a formidable home form, though, and will hope to have the crowd on their back as they take on fellow top-six challengers Juventus.
Winning Again But Still Shaky
Juventus' season collapsed at the turn of the year as they were destroyed by Parma and Napoli in back-to-back matches. Criticisms and doubts, so long buried under heaps of praise and optimism, began to raise their ugly heads and suddenly the Old Lady were old again. And dilapidated.
Only, they have something left in them still. Juve bounced back from their defeat in Naples with a 2-0 victory over Catania in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie and backed that up with a 2-1 win against relegation-threatened Bari. Those three points saw the Bianconeri remain sixth with 34 points from 20 matches, a point off a Champions League berth.
Yet the suspicion is that Juventus will continue to struggle for the remainder of the season. With their long unbeaten run broken at the start of the new year, their bubble is said to have burst and against Sampdoria in Genoa, Luigi Del Neri's team could be exposed.
Semioli, Padalino, Zauri and Gastaldello are injured and are unavailable for the clash. Pazzini and Macheda will start as the two centre-forwards in a 4-4-2 formation.
Rinaudo, De Ceglie, Iaquinta, Quagliarella, Toni and Grosso are injured and will miss the trip to Genoa. Felipe Melo is suspended.