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Sampdoria-Milan Preview: Like a Fine Wine



Sampdoria’s season this year has been eclipsed by an old man. In a lesson for all of us that experience can be more important than youth, Fabio Quagliarella is having the season of his life, with 21 Serie A goals and seven assists at the age of 36. And while Milan boast a couple of amazing young strikers and Borini, the bigger scoring threat seems to be from Sampdoria’s veteran. Having just broken the record for goals scored by the oldest player for Italy’s national team, Quagliarella is less the old man and more like a fine wine.

Aging like a fine wine

I have always had such immense respect for Quagliarella, who has always been a great player, but an even greater man. He hails from the same town as the brothers Donnarumma, actually, and had hoped to play for Napoli indefinitely once he had signed with the club. I was shocked, as many were, when he was finally able to disclose that he had left Napoli due to a stalker who was threatening to kill him and his family for over five years. Despite his stint at Juventus, he has always shown great character, and it is difficult for me to view him as an enemy.

Giampaolo’s team are currently in ninth place on the table, with a record of twelve wins, six draws, and ten losses. Before the international break, they outscored Sassuolo 5-3 to take all three points. For that match, Giampaolo lined up Audero; Bereszynski, Andersen, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty; Defrel; Gabbiadini, and Quagliarella. Samp will be without Caprari due to his longterm injury, and have a number of players in doubt due to fitness: Vieira, Ekdal, Ramirez, and Barreto are all struggling with injury, and Bereszynski has had the flu this week.

He lost Milan and he lost his hair, of course he wants revenge

Gattuso is obviously still missing Bonaventura, and there has been speculation about other players who might miss, but they are all called up. Piatek was reported to have the flu while on international duty, but still played for Poland. Rodriguez reportedly received a minor muscle injury while on international duty, but is called up for Sampdoria.

The player most speculated about is Kessie. During the Derby, he and Biglia had a PDA that included Kessie being held back by multiple Milan players. The fact that Inter were found guilty of racist abuse of Kessie during the match has not been included in the discussion, but as usual, the media thinks they know everything that is going on in Kessie’s mind and behind closed doors, so have blown the entire incident out of proportion. Especially with a full two weeks to do so. They have gone so far as to claim that Kessie will be benched for his reaction to his fine, although Gattuso didn’t even hint at doing such a thing in his press conference.

Don't believe everything you read

Milan managed to beat Sampdoria at the San Siro in October, then again in the Coppa Italia in January at the Marassi, despite Sampdoria actually playing better. In both situations, Cutrone scored, so I would hope Gattuso would release the Cutrone for this match. But now we also have Piatek, who has 19 Serie A goals of his own this season. With Milan coming off of a disappointing loss before the break and the Blucerchiati having won before the break, it will be interesting to see which team can pull this one off. Will it be Milan’s youth? Or Sampdoria and their aging striker, who is playing more like a fine wine?


This post inspired by the music of UB40’s “Red, Red Wine”


Serie A Week 29
Sampdoria vs. Milan
Saturday, March 30 • 20:30 CET (3:30pm EDT)*
*note the time difference due to U.S. Daylight Savings Time