MX23RW : Friday, July 30 03:47:22| >> :600:1519490:1519490:
Jan 6, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Luigi Ferraris
Inter MilanInter Milan
Candreva (23' pen.), Balde (38')
Thorsby (57'), Balde (84'), Askildsen (85')
FT(HT: 2-0)
de Vrij (65')
Martinez (16'), Barella (23'), de Vrij (40'), Hakimi (90+1')

Preview: Sampdoria vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Sampdoria and Inter Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Relentless Inter Milan meet mid-table side Sampdoria on Wednesday, as Nerazzurri eyes remain laser-focused on claiming their first Scudetto in over a decade.

Claudio Ranieri must prepare his charges for the visit of a winning machine, after both sides got the year off to contrasting starts - defeat for Samp and a thumping win for Inter.

Match preview

Lautaro Martinez in action for Inter Milan on November 28, 2020© Reuters

Having had a hit-and-miss campaign so far, hat-trick hero Lautaro Martinez led the Inter cavalry on Sunday as they laid waste to promoted Crotone's flimsy defence, easily racking up an eighth straight league win - their best streak since 2008.

A crushing 6-2 victory - albeit after surprisingly going behind early on - kept the pressure on city rivals AC Milan at the top of the Serie A table.

Heavily involved in two of Martinez's three strikes, star striker Romelu Lukaku made his 50th Serie A appearance for Inter at the weekend, also scoring his 50th goal in all competitions.

In doing so, the prolific forward joined exalted company, as only five other players have scored more goals than his 35 in their first half-century of league games during the three-points-for-a-win era: Cristiano Ronaldo (with 40), Ronaldo (38), Andriy Shevchenko (37), Diego Milito (37) and Vincenzo Montella (36).

Although Lukaku's involvement on Wednesday appears in doubt because of a thigh problem picked up at San Siro, others in the squad are capable of picking up the slack.

Antonio Conte's offensive department have registered 24 goals in the last eight games - averaging three goals per game - for a team who rarely look fluent but are often ruthlessly effective.

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku in action with Sampdoria's Omar Colley in September 2019© Reuters

Sampdoria's hopes of a positive start to 2021 were washed away in the torrential rain on Sunday, as Edin Dzeko's second-half winner for Roma saw them defeated by a single goal at Stadio Olimpico to sit 11th in the table.

Despite their inherent inconsistency, Samp boss Ranieri claims he does not expect new signings in the January transfer window, insisting that the future return from injury of forwards Manolo Gabbiadini and Keita Balde will suffice.

While that demonstrates the constraints Ranieri is working under in Genoa and the limited ambitions of his latest club in a long and distinguished career, the one-time Premier League winner undoubtedly has some raw talent at his disposal.

Scandinavian stars Morten Thorsby, Mikkel Damsgaard - plus the evergreen Albin Ekdal - offer reason to hope for a top-half finish this term, as they have provided a touch of thrust and incision to the Sampdoria counter-attack.

However, Ranieri's men have been found wanting defensively too often this term and the Blucerchiati have failed to keep a clean sheet since October - so the visit of in-form Inter will be laced with fear for a brittle back four.

Sampdoria Serie A form: LLWWLL

Inter Milan Serie A form: WWWWWW
Inter Milan form (all competitions): DWWWWW

Team News

Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Top scorer Lukaku, who suffered a thigh strain against Crotone, is expected to miss out for Inter, so Lautaro Martinez will be joined by the returning Alexis Sanchez - injured for much of the season himself.

Midfielder Arturo Vidal is set to be replaced by Roberto Gagliardini, as Conte makes use of his deep squad during a run of three league games in a week.

Claudio Ranieri will rest veteran forward Fabio Quagliarella and back-up Antonio La Gumina, who has enjoyed several opportunities of late, as Keita Balde returns to the Sampdoria XI up front.

Talented youngster Mikkel Damsgaard is entrusted to play in support of the Senegal striker, with Inter old boy Antonio Candreva starting out wide.

Due to suspension, Albin Ekdal is unavailable, so Adrien Silva and Thorsby will man the Sampdoria engine room.

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Tonelli, Augello; Candreva, Thorsby, Silva, Jankto; Damsgaard; Balde

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Young; Martinez, Sanchez

SM words green background

We say: Sampdoria 1-2 Inter Milan

Since their ignominious exit from Europe last month, no team has been able to resist Inter's unstoppable form. Demonstrating Antonio Conte's characteristic steeliness, the Nerazzurri have shot up the standings.

Certainly, a lightweight Sampdoria side should hold few concerns for the Scudetto challengers, though it may not be an entirely straightforward march to victory at Marassi on Wednesday.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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:curl

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Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen on August 10, 2020
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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