Serie A preview: Sampdoria set for Napoli challenge
By Football News
Midfielder Gianni Munari has claimed Sampdoria are 'a team full of character' ahead of their blockbuster Serie A clash against Napoli.
Sampdoria, who were promoted to Italy's top tier through the playoffs after one season in Serie B, have started their new campaign in great form with three straight victories before consecutive 1-1 draws against Torino and Roma.
The Genoa-based club sit third in the league standings and take on equal first-placed Napoli on Sunday in what will be arguably the match of the round; and Munari believes Sampdoria have shown they can continue their early form throughout the season.
"We are a team full of character," Munari said.
"I'm looking forward to this year."
Sampdoria trail Napoli by three points, which includes a one-point penalty to the former due to their involvement in the Italian match-fixing scandal.
Napoli will provide a very tough challenge to Sampdoria with Walter Mazzarri's having scored 10 goals in their past four games to sit equal-top of Serie A alongside reigning champions Juventus with the two teams level on points, goal difference, goals scored and goals against.
But Mazzarri remains keen to play down expectations in Naples.
"We are only five games into the season and the road is long," Mazzarri said after Napoli's 3-0 win over Lazio on Wednesday.
"We have had a great victory and are looking at Sampdoria because it will be a tough game."
In the other big match of the round, Juventus host Roma with the visitors' coach Zdenek Zeman set to face a hostile reception.
The 65-year-old Czech claimed during his first spell in charge of Roma 14 years ago that Juventus were using performance-enhancing drugs and has also criticised the reigning champions this season, in relation to the ban on their coach Antonio Conte for match-fixing.
Roma are eighth in Serie A and are certain to maintain Zeman's attacking philosophy despite the tough trip to Turin on Saturday, while AC Milan will travel to Parma for the other early game of the round.
The late game on Sunday pits Inter Milan against Fiorentina, while Lazio host Siena and Udinese take on Genoa.
In other Serie A matches, Atalanta host Torino, Bologna face Catania, Cagliari will play Pescara and Palermo are up against Chievo.