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Dec 22, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
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Gabbiadini (80')
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Preview: Roma vs. Sampdoria - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Roma vs. Sampdoria - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Roma and Sampdoria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following one of their best results of the season last weekend, Roma return to Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday to host Sampdoria in Serie A's final round of 2021.

Now up to fifth, and just six points adrift of the top four, the Giallorossi's win over Atalanta will have lifted their spirits before closing the first half of the season on home soil.

Match preview

Battling against both form and precedent on Saturday afternoon, Roma upset the odds to not only deny Atalanta their seventh straight Serie A win, but also earn a first victory over the Bergamo club since 2017.

Having struggled to regularly find the net since moving to Italy, former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham opened the scoring inside the first minute and also added the fourth in a 4-1 win over one of Europe's most in-form sides.

Nicolo Zaniolo, who scored in Serie A for the first time since his return from injury, and Chris Smalling - with his second strike in as many games - were also on the scoresheet for the Giallorossi, who have now won three on the spin following back-to-back defeats to start the month.

Beyond the immediate benefits of three points, which closed the gap to their fourth-placed hosts to a more manageable six, Roma will be relieved to have ended a long line of inglorious failures against their fellow top-four contenders - indeed, the club had not won any of their last 12 meetings with teams in the top five.

While Jose Mourinho has seen his side stutter on occasions this term, they have kept up a fine home record at the Olimpico: winning six of their league fixtures as hosts and keeping five clean sheets in the process.

In fact, no team has accumulated more shut-outs on home turf than the Giallorossi, who have won each of their last three capital city encounters with Sampdoria by a cumulative scoreline of 7-2.

Sampdoria, though, did win 2-0 in their last match versus Roma - at home, last May - and will seek successive victories against their capital counterparts for the first time since 2015 on Wednesday.

They will be serious outsiders, however, as a season of toil and defensive confusion has only just begun to turn around with the campaign hitting its halfway stage.

Ahead of the Blucerchiati's final fixture of 2021, they recently progressed to the Coppa Italia's last 16 - just days after claiming local supremacy in the Derby della Lanterna - and added a further point to a modest Serie A tally on Sunday.

As Abraham had managed for Roma the day before, Manolo Gabbiadini struck to put Sampdoria in front within the first minute of the game as Samp went on to draw 1-1 with Venezia.

Conceding a late equaliser to the visitors' only shot on target of the whole game will have come as a bitter blow to under-pressure coach Roberto D'Aversa, but a total of 10 points from the last possible 18 has secured their place in the mid-table security of 15th.

They are also now nine points clear of their Ligurian rivals Genoa, who occupy the final relegation spot, so D'Aversa will hope the second half of the season can be spent looking up the standings rather than over their shoulders.

Samp have not won consecutive Serie A games away from home in over a year, though, so ending 2021 on a high could prove too tall a task to conquer in Rome.

Roma Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Roma form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Sampdoria Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

Sampdoria form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Influential long-term absentees Lorenzo Pellegrini and Leonardo Spinazzola aside, Roma only have injury doubts concerning Carles Perez and Stephan El Shaarawy for their final game of the year.

As Jose Mourinho prefers to keep rotation to a minimum, given the perceived weaknesses in his squad, the home side are likely to be unchanged from the XI that started against Atalanta, so Matias Vina and Rick Karsdorp start as wing-backs in a 3-5-2 formation.

Following his long-awaited goal last weekend, Nicolo Zaniolo once again starts in support of Tammy Abraham up front. Though the England striker has only scored six Serie A goals in his debut season despite being a regular, four have come in his last six appearances.

Another in-form forward will travel to the Olimpico with confidence growing, as Sampdoria's Manolo Gabbiadini has found the net in each of his last four league appearances. The former Napoli man leads the line for the visitors on Wednesday, and either Francesco Caputo or Fabio Quagliarella will join him in a front pair.

Another Samp striker, Ernesto Torregrossa, returned to training this week after a season scarred by injury troubles, but will not be back in the squad until the second half of the season kicks off next month - a similar story to that of midfielders Mikkel Damsgaard and Ronaldo Vieira, who are taking a steady route back to fitness following long layoffs.

Goalkeeper Emil Audero will be assessed ahead of the game, with Wladimiro Falcone standing ready to deputise if needed.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Veretout, Cristante, Vina; Mkhitaryan, Zaniolo; Abraham

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Ekdal, Silva, Thorsby; Gabbiadini, Quagliarella

We say: Roma 2-1 Sampdoria

A settled side can help Roma to keep momentum from their excellent weekend showing ticking over, so expect them to end an ultimately underwhelming year for the club with a win.

While Samp have fared well enough on the road this term, it will be beyond them to maintain the intensity required to better Mourinho's men on Roman soil.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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