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Serie A Week 11 - 9/11/08 (14.00 UK)
Napoli - Sampdoria
Stadio San Paolo

Serie A revelation Napoli have double the amount of points that Sampdoria have collected so far, but this clash at the Stadio San Paolo could still be tricky for them. Very tricky.

The Azzurri have been flying high recently by reaching the top of the table but their winning streak was interrupted by Milan at the weekend. However, the Partenopei still proved they are something more than early season bloomers. They currently sit fourth and could reach impressive targets this term.

“We were really good against the Rossoneri and definitely deserved something more,” claimed boss Edy Reja. “If we keep on working hard like we are doing now, then we could go far,” added Slovak starlet Marek Hamsik.

Sampdoria are also doing well although their position in the table doesn’t give them the credit they deserve. Last Sunday’s win against Torino was their second consecutive victory and it seems that luck has turned their way now. The Blucerchiati are trying to reach a mid-table position and it wouldn’t be wise to write them off before this game.

“A draw would have been more fair against the Granata,” admitted sporting director Giuseppe Marotta. “But in football these things happen and we cannot feel sorry for them, after all we played to win the game and we did it.”

Reja cannot count on Christian Maggio for this tie. The ex-Sampdoria full-back would have been glad to meet his former teammates but has been banned for one week. Fabiano Santacroce is doubtful but should make it while Luigi Vitale will step in to replace Maggio. Marcelo Zalayeta is still out so German Denis and Ezequiel Lavezzi will be once again be strike partners.

There are a few problems for Walter Mazzarri. Apart from Angelo Palombo and Hugo Campagnaro, suffering from long-term injuries, Doria will be without Stefano Lucchini and Paolo Sammarco, who has a broken rib. Jonathan Bottinelli may also be unavailable due to a trip to Argentina for family reasons. Antonio Cassano and Claudio Bellucci expect to start.

Napoli won here 2-0 last term – the third consecutive tie that the San Paolo encounter has ended with such a scoreline.

Keep an eye on: German Denis (Napoli) – El Tanque must feel excited after being called upon by newly appointed Diego Maradona. The former Independiente striker scored three goals last time at the San Paolo and will be trying to get over his unlucky deflection which condemned Napoli to defeat against Milan.

Last season: Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria

Form guide: Napoli (L W W W L) Sampdoria (D L L W W)
Napoli (probable): Iezzo; Santacroce, P.Cannavaro, Contini; Mannini, Blasi, Gargano, Hamsik, Vitale; Denis, Lavezzi

Sampdoria (probable): Castellazzi; Bottinelli, Gastaldello, Accardi; Padalino, Delvecchio, Sammarco, Franceschini, Pieri; Bellucci, Cassano
 

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Congrats on another win. I am impressed with Mannini, one quite under-rated or at leats under-stated player so far this season.
 
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