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Sampdoria vs. Milan Preview: Well Blow Me Down


So Milan will be playing their fifth game in 13 days on Saturday. That’s like a baseball schedule, except baseball players don’t even work up a sweat. Worse still is that it is away in Genoa at the Marassi (aka the Haunted Stadium.) Oh, and did I mention that Sampdoria are in great form, in a deserved 4th place in the league? So yeah. This might be a good match to watch with one eye closed, watch while inebriated, watch with a support buddy, or all of the above. As Popeye would say, “Well blow me down!”

This sailor is remaining neutral in this match, wearing both teams' colors and not wanting to root against fellow sailors

Genoa is a port city, and Sampdoria’s crest features an old sailor known as “Baciccia.” The Marassi, as it’s commonly called, or the Stadio Cummunale Luigi Ferraris as it’s formally called, is also old. Having opened in 1911, it is one of the oldest stadiums in Serie A. But that is the end of what is old at Sampdoria. This season’s record of five wins, four draws, and just a single loss puts them in fourth place, just behind Lazio on the table, and made Samp the surprise of the season in Serie A.

Also not old is their manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic. He joined Sampdoria last year after a stint coaching the Serbian national team. At the tender age of 45, he has taken the Blucerchiati from poor results, with the club having been relegated just three short years ago, to a real contender for a Champions League spot this season. He is also an ex-Sampdoria player, but if you’ll also remember, he is ex-Inter, too. So in the Popeye analogy, Sampdoria could easily be Bluto to our Popeye.

Mihajlovic has much more to relax about than his counterpart for tomorrow

Sampdoria are also coming off of a solid 3-1 win over Fiorentina on Sunday. For that match, Mihajlovic lined up Romero; Palombo, Regini, Cacciatore; Mesbah, Obiang, Soriano, Rizzo, De Silvestri; Okaka, and Bergessio. What a second, did that say Mesbah? The Algerian star from the World Cup which saw his country never lose when he was a starter? Former Milan player and transfer abuse activist Mesbah? Yes, he is one and the same. He may wear a different club shirt every six months or so, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.

There are a few fitness doubts for Mihajlovic’ squad: Gastadello, Romagnoli, Djordevic, and Silvestre are all listed as possibly missing the match, while Viviano and De Vitis are out long-term and Palombo is suspended. One man you will definitely want to see is Sampdoria’s new owner, Massimo Ferrero. Many owners get quite animated, but few dance the way he does. Although I’m actually hoping that his team don’t give him any reason to dance tomorrow.

The shirts change, but the threat remains the same

For our part, I hope Inzaghi and his boys have eaten their spinach this week. Coming off of an electrifying inspiring satisfying win over San Lorenzo to hoist the Berlusconi Trophy (hope no one injured themselves lifting that thing,) no one has forgotten the way Palermo made mincemeat of them on Sunday. Montolivo returned to training last week, but will not be fit to play still, and Muntari, Alex and Abate are both injured. Additionally, Zapata may not be match fit, so could sit this one out. The rest of the squad are going to have to really step it up to get any kind of result from this one.

I do kind of feel like Olive Oyl, with the mean old Bluto kidnapping me and relying on Popeye and his spinach to rescue me. Except I’m not sure I’ll get rescued this time, and I’m not sure the spinach will be enough to overcome a team that is mentally stronger right now. But if somehow Milan are strong to the finish and triumph over that other sailor in their port city, then I will definitely eat my spinach, and maybe even say, “Well blow me down.”


This post inspired by the timeless cartoons of Popeye


Sampdoria vs. Milan
Saturday, November 8 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This game will be shown LIVE on RAI in the U.S.
Check comments for stream links ahead of match