Sampdoria cost Roma the scudetto in 2009/10, and Michael Lintorn expects more Genoese obstruction...
"Sampdoria have won both Marassi league encounters to date by margins of two goals or more, held Napoli away and have been beaten on just one of the past six occasions that they hosted Roma."
Recommended Bet: Lay Roma to win away to Sampdoria @ 1.8910/11
The Serie A season is fascinatingly poised, with champions of the last four years Juventus allowing Inter - who finished eighth last term - an eight-point head-start and the 2014/15 top three of the Old Lady, Roma and Lazio presently 13th, fourth and tenth respectively. The question is: will the first midweek round of the campaign calm the craziness or abet the absurdity? Let's investigate...
Udinese 3.613/5 v AC Milan 2.35/4; The Draw 3.412/5
Live on BT Sport Europe
AC Milan's Sinisa Mihajlovic era has started with two away defeats, yet nobody should be panicking given that their conquerors have been top-three duo Fiorentina and Inter. The going should be easier at the Stadio Friuli, where Udinese have already lost to Palermo and Empoli, though the Rossoneri have been beaten on three successive visits.
With that record rendering the outcome a little uncertain, a play of both teams to score is perhaps preferable. The guests are clean sheet-less under their new conductor, but are at least getting into a scoring groove, with Carlos Bacca firing three times and Luiz Adriano once in their last three games.
Recommended Bet: Back both teams to score @ 1.8910/11
Sampdoria 4.84/1 v Roma 1.8810/11; The Draw 3.711/4
Live on BT Sport Europe
Draws proved debilitating to Roma's scudetto prospects last season, particularly a run of eight in nine between January and March, and there is danger of an encore, with the impact of their 2-1 victory over Juventus minimised by draws with Verona and Sassuolo, the latter in Rome on Sunday.
Sampdoria meanwhile have acclimatised to the departure of coach Mihajlovic and the decision to replace him with Walter Zenga, who hadn't worked in Serie A for over five years, better than appeared likely when they flopped 4-0 at home to Vojvodina in the Europa League qualifiers.
They have won both Marassi league encounters to date by margins of two goals or more, held Napoli away and have been beaten on just one of the past six occasions that they hosted Roma. Additionally, it wasn't until May that they dropped all three points in front of their fans in 2014/15.
Recommended Bet: Lay Roma to win @ 1.8910/11
Empoli 2.26/5 v Atalanta 3.814/5; The Draw 3.55/2
Live on BT Sport 1
Empoli recently earned a first win since promotion and survival-delivering coach Maurizio Sarri left for Napoli, expertly exploiting Panagiotis Kone's 72th-minute red to rally from 1-0 down - Massimo Maccarone completing the comeback in the 90th minute - but the transition hasn't been seamless.
They have played three home matches since, one against Serie B side Vicenza in the Coppa Italia and the others against Chievo and Napoli, and only have a draw and two reverses to show for it, having also failed to triumph in their final two in Florence in 2014/15.
Atalanta by contrast are thriving under talented veteran former Napoli and Lazio boss Edy Reja, going undefeated in three fixtures since an excusable 90th-minute loss to leaders Inter with ten men.
Recommended Bet: Lay Empoli to win @ 2.226/5