Match Time：1/12/2021 03:45 Tuesday (GMT+8)
Riding high after spectacular comeback wins against Serie A's big boys, both Spezia and Sampdoria meet on Monday night aiming to build on unexpected midweek successes.
Vincenzo Italiano's side pulled off an incredible triumph over Napoli on Wednesday, while resolute Samp downed Inter Milan at Marassi.
Ahead of this clash between Liguria's two major cities, Sampdoria managed to hold on for all three points against Scudetto-chasing Inter, after sprinting into an improbable two-goal lead.
Wily coach Claudio Ranieri got the better of rival Antonio Conte, as his bold decision to mix up his hit-and-miss forward line paid dividends on the typically terrible turf at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Goals from Inter old boys Keita Balde and Antonio Candreva gave the Blucerchiati the advantage, as exciting Danish forward Mikkel Damsgaard excelled as a second striker.
That combination of youth and experience hints at growing optimism in the Samp camp, as the efforts of veteran campaigners such as Candreva, Fabio Quagliarella - who remained on the bench in midweek - and Albin Ekdal are embellished by energetic tyros such as Damsgaard and his compatriot Morten Thorsby.
Having now won three of their last five games – against Inter, Crotone and Verona – the Genoese side have managed to move decisively away from the relegation zone and within touching distance of the top half of the table.
As they head down the coast to picturesque La Spezia, Ranieri will be aware that his side's record on the road must improve if they are to maintain momentum.
In fact, Sampdoria have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 18 away league matches - they last suffered a longer such run in 1956, with 24 in a row.
Largely thanks to the continued heroics of one of Serie A's most unlikely stars of the season, M'Bala Nzola, coach Vincenzo Italiano's Spezia side shocked Napoli on Wednesday by coming back from a goal and a man down to win 2-1 at Stadio Diego Maradona.
In his first campaign at the top level, the previously unheralded French striker made the most of limited opportunities by scoring from the spot - his eighth league goal so far - and helping create teammate Tommaso Pobega's late winner against the Neapolitan giants.
That morale-boosting feat lifts the Bianconeri out of the relegation zone, up to 16th place in the standings ahead of Sampdoria's visit.
It is on 'home' turf where Italiano's intrepid outfit have struggled most though - which can be partly accounted for by them hosting games in Cesena at the start of the season, as their diminutive Stadio Alberto Picco was apparently inadequate to stage fan-free Serie A action.
With only three points collected in their eight home games to date, Spezia have yet to win at either venue and - understandably, given their promotion through the Serie B playoffs just weeks before the campaign began - have so far failed to win two league games in a row.
They will now aim to right that record and build momentum - with games against relatively modest opponents Samp, Torino and Udinese among their fixtures before the end of the month.
Though the Aquilotti have at least scored a minimum of one goal in each of their last eight games, an average of two goals per game conceded during that spell has kept a leash on their progress.
Monday night's visit of their Ligurian rivals, then, promises to be an entertaining affair - with both sides surely targeting maximum points.
Spezia Serie A form: LDLLLW
Sampdoria Serie A form: LWWLLW
Though coach Claudio Ranieri will not have the injured Manolo Gabbiadini and Adrien Silva at his disposal, he has an otherwise full squad to choose from.
Full-back Bartosz Bereszynski returns on the right of Sampdoria's defence, with Omar Colley most likely to keep his place alongside Maya Yoshida, who returns to the centre.
Ranieri can welcome back midfielder Albin Ekdal from suspension, while Mikkel Damsgaard may have to compete with midweek goalscorer Keita Balde for a spot in attack if Fabio Quagliarella returns to the starting lineup as expected.
Spezia boss Vincenzo Italiano has more significant selection problems, as Ardian Ismajli is suspended after seeing red against Napoli, while forwards Daniele Verde and Andrej Galabinov plus goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet have returned to training but are not yet ready to start. In addition, Matteo Ricci, Simone Bastoni and Gennaro Acampora are self-isolating due to COVID-19.
Midfield mainstay Tommaso Pobega will be joined by two from Nahuel Estevez, Lucien Agoume and Giulio Maggiore in the centre of Italiano's 4-3-3 setup, with new loan signing Riccardo Saponara aiming for a start in attack at the expense of either Emmanuel Gyasi or Diego Farias.
Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Ferrer, Terzi, Chabot, Marchizza; Estevez, Maggiore, Pobega; Gyasi, Nzola, Farias
Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Colley, Yoshida, Augello; Candreva, Thorsby, Ekdal, Jankto; Keita, Quagliarella
Spezia 1-1 Sampdoria