Prediction: Monza vs Sampdoria – Soccer News
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 3/4
In one of the final matches of the 21st round in the Serie A this season, Monza will play host to Sampdoria and the Stadio Brianteo on Monday evening. Their need for the points on offer is not of same level, but neither side will be short of desire to win.
Monza have had a reasonably good season since earning Serie A promotion last summer. With 25 points from 20 matches, they’re currently in 11th place, with 12 points and five teams forming a comfortable cushion between them and the relegation zone. There isn’t much hope of fighting for a place leading to one of the European competitions, with AC Milan currently in sixth place with a 13-point advantage, but there’s no doubt coach Raffaele Palladino and his players will be perfectly happy with their season’s work if they stay where they are, not worrying about surviving in the Italian top flight.
This is a quality team which has already taken some notable scalps this season. Their last-six run in all competitions includes a 1-1 draw away to Fiorentina, a 2-2 draw at home against Inter Milan, a 2-3 victory away to Cremonese, a 2-1 defeat away to Juventus in the Coppa Italia round of 16, a 1-1 draw at home against Sassuolo, and a revenge with interest on Juventus at the same venue, this time in the Serie A, by 0-2.
Patrick Ciurria and Dany Mota were the players who found a way to score past Wojciech Szczesny in Turin last week, both in the first half of the match.
Midfielder Stefano Sensi is suspended through yellow card accumulation and right-back Giulio Donati is an injury doubt, but the rest of the squad is at Palladino’s disposal.
Usually arranging his men in a 3-4-3 setup, Palladino is expected to name the following lineup:
Michele Di Gregorio in goal, the trio of Armando Izzo, Pablo Mari and Luca Caldirola at the back, Nicolo Rovella and Jose Machin in the middle of the park, Ciuria covering the right flank and Carlos Augusto on the left, and Matteo Pessina playing just behind strikers Mota and Gianluca Caprari.
Things are very different for Sampdoria, who face a rather serious prospect of relegation. Sitting 19th with just nine points from 20 matches so far and only winless Cremonese behind, they won’t be too happy with the fact that Spezia in 17th, the nearest spot that means survival come the end of the season, are on double their tally. Hellas Verona are between with 13.
Coach Dejan Stankovic has plenty of issues to deal with, not least when it comes to his attacking ranks. His men have scored only eight league goals this season, by far the least in the Italian top flight, and even though there are three teams with more goals conceded then their 34, their goal-difference is the worst.
In their last six competitive matches, Sampdoria scored only two goals, both in the only victory on that woeful list, a 1-2 triumph away to Sassuolo at the start of the year. Since then, they lost 0-2 at home against league leaders Napoli, 1-0 away to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia, 1-0 away to Empoli, 0-1 at home against Udinese, and 2-0 away to Atalanta.
Midfielder Harry Winks recently returned to action and is expected to start, but centre-back Omar Colley (knee) and attacking midfielder Filip Djuricic (muscle) remain out.
With Emil Audero in goal, Bram Nuytinck will likely be joined by Koray Gunter and Bruno Amione at the back. Winks will play alongside Tomas Rincon in the middle, while Mehdi Leris (right) and Tommaso Augello (left) cover the flanks. In the absence of Djuricic, Michael Cuissance will probably be the link between the midfield and strikers Manolo Gabbiadini and Sam Lammers.
Monza should have no difficulty in making sure the three points remain at the Brianteo, while forcing Sampdoria to remain without a goal scored for the sixth game running.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 3/4
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