This weekend AC Milan will travel to Liguria: Saturday evening at the Ferraris sees the Rossoneri take on Giampaolo's Sampdoria, a former manager. The Blucerchiati have made a poor start to the 2022/23 season: two points in their first five games: three defeats and two draws. Losing this match would mean equalling the worst start for the Doriani in their first six Serie A matches of a season (two draws and four defeats in the first six back in 2013/14, when they managed to avoid relegation at the end of the year). Going further back in the year, the stat do not look any better, as Sampdoria are - along with Montpellier - one of the two teams to have recorded the most defeats (16) since the start of 2022 in the top five European leagues.
Another point, not in their favour, is goalscoring: in this calendar year the Blucerchiati have 21 goals to their name in 24 Serie A matches (an average of 0.88 - the lowest amongst the teams in both the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons). There is, however, one significant fact to highlight, which concerns results and performances against the big teams'" First of all, the two points they have won so far this season came against Juventus (0-0) and Lazio (1-1). And, particularly at the Ferraris, the recent numbers against opponents in the top five are not bad: the Blucerchiati are unbeaten in three of the last six meetings against these sides (two draws against Lazio and Juventus in the season that has just begun, and one against Inter in September 2021). Games against bigger and better opposition can make a difference and even encourage the Doriani.
SAMPDORIA SUFFER AT THE START OF MATCHES AND STRUGGLE DEFENSIVELY IN THE BOX
In Saturday's match the Rossoneri will be able to exploit two key areas: the first is a matter of time. Whilst on the one hand AC Milan are the team that have scored the most goals in the first half hour of games (four), Sampdoria have conceded the most (four). Even looking at the first half, the Blucerchiati's record is one of the two worst in the league: six in the first 45 minutes of games, on par with Monza. Sampdoria are slow out the blocks and the Diavolo will want to hit them early on in the match.
The second weapon Pioli's men will be able to count on is their attacking threat in the penalty area: all of the Rossoneri's 10 goals have come in box, where all nine goals conceded by the Ligurians have come. The players in and around the area will be crucial, from Giroud to Origi. To add to that, Giampaolo's side's goal-scoring performance is one of the two least prolific with that of Monza. Two goals to their name, against a side that has three players with at least as many (three for Rafael Leão, two for Ante Rebić and two for Olivier Giroud).
SABIRI'S ON THE HUNT FOR GOALS, CAPUTO AMONG THE MOST DANGEROUS
The threats - albeit few - posed by the Blucerchiato attack in these first five games of Serie A have almost always come from two players: Abdelhamid Sabiri and Francesco Caputo. The Moroccan attacker, despite topping the charts in terms of possession lost in the league this season (93 out of 287 balls played, 32%) in the attacking moves, offers a constant contribution. It is no coincidence that, along with Fabio Quagliarella, Gerard Deulofeu and Cyriel Dessers, he is one of the four players with the most shots attempted so far, among those who have not yet scored. The desire is there, but he needs to hone his accuracy, as no one in Serie A has hit the woodwork more than him so far: two (one against Juventus and one against Atalanta).
The second player the Rossoneri defense will have to pay attention to is Francesco Caputo. The striker has been involved in two of Sampdoria's last three league goals (scoring against Verona in the last game, and assisting Sabiri in May against Fiorentina). It is no coincidence that the former Neraverde man (who scored his only goal against AC Milan in Serie A in July 2020 from the penalty spot) is Sampdoria's top scorer in the league since the start of 2022 with eight goals to his name, ahead of Sabiri and Quagliarella (three).
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