ITALY: Serie A
Time: 5:45 PM
Venue: Stadio Alberto Picco (La Spezia)
It’s back-to-back Ligurian derbies for Spezia in Serie A (SA) as they welcome Genoa, after a 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria condemned them to a sixth league loss in eight matches (W2, L6). Boss Thiago Motta is likely to field a relatively young side again, as he has deployed a starting XI with an average age of under 24 years for two consecutive matchdays.
Spezia have lost three of their four SA home games, but there is encouragement ahead of Motta’s reunion against his old employers. Each of those losses came via just a single-goal margin, every time to a goal beyond the 70th minute. Yet, the late goal charm worked in Spezia’s favour in a 2-1 win in their last home match giving some cause for hope.
Genoa, the oldest active Italian football club, will start this game a point worse than their neighbours after a narrow 3-2 loss to Torino extended their SA winless streak (D3, L3). It is not time for alarm bells yet though, as ‘I Rossoblù’ have seen their last four SA losses come via a mere single-goal margin.
Genoa also have more points at this stage than last season, which saw them narrowly miss out on a top-ten finish. Even so, back-to-back losses on the road makes things uneasy, but with their lone SA win arriving on the road, and memories of a H2H double last season still fresh, Genoa also have good reason to believe they can kick-start their season here.
Players to watch: Spezia’s Daniele Verde has seen each of his three SA strikes to date come in losses. In contrast, Mattia Destro has seen all but one of his league goals help Genoa pick up points, and scored their opener in a 2-1 win here last campaign.
Spezia’s form in last 5 matches: LWLLL.
Genoa’s form in last 5 matches: LDLDD.