Serie A season review, Sampdoria: not a lot to cheer about

epa09918839 Sampdoria?s fans choreography prior to the Italian Serie A soccer match Uc Sampdoria vs Genoa Cfc at Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy, 30 April 2022. EPA-EFE/SIMONE ARVEDA

Position: 15

Points: 36

Comparison with previous season: -16 (9th)

Season overview

Sampdoria benefited from the ineptitude of their relegation rivals to survive in a deeply uninspiring campaign tarnished by the arrest and resignation of club president Massimo Ferrero. Former player and Scudetto winner Marco Lanna took over as president after Ferrero was jailed for alleged corporate crimes and bankruptcy in December. Coach Roberto D’Aversa was fired in January with Doria hovering precariously above the relegation places. Replacement Marco Giampaolo, who coached Samp for nearly three years from 2016 to 2019, returned to guide the Blucerchiati to just five victories as they barely maintained their top-flight status.

Turning point of the season

The reappointment of Giampaolo proved enough to save Samp from the oblivion of Serie B. Regarded as a safe pair of hands following the disastrous tenure of D’Aversa the 54-year-old ensured Doria avoided the drop by the slimmest of margins. A crucial Derby della Lanterna victory over Genoa in late April was a pivotal moment in a season otherwise marked by calamitous defending and injuries to key players. Abdelhamid Sabiri’s first half goal was enough for Samp to overcome their city rivals in an incredibly dramatic match. Goalkeeper Emil Audero saved a last-gasp penalty from Genoa defender Domenico Criscito to earn a crucial win for Doria.

The coaches – Roberto D’Aversa and Marco Giampaolo

Giampaolo’s return to Marassi was a logical if hardly adventurous choice but the coach did at least steer Samp to safety. Long term injuries to Danish attacking midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard and forward Manolo Gabbiadini made Giampaolo’s task even more difficult. Yet the experienced coach made a series of moves in the January transfer window which saved Doria’s season. Unproven Moroccan-born attacking midfielder Sabiri scored three goals while on loan from Ascoli. Stefano Sensi showed glimpses of his best form on a temporary stay from Inter. High profile capture Sebastian Giovinco made just two forgettable appearances, but Giampaolo did justify his appointment as Samp stayed up.

Player of the Year – Antonio Candreva

The Blucerchiati would almost certainly have fallen into the abyss of Italy’s second tier without the goals and assists of Antonio Candreva. In a squad of thirtysomething veterans, the 35-year-old consistently showed age is just a number. Although lacking the pace and stamina that earned him international recognition at Lazio and Inter, the right-sided midfielder was an essential source of creativity in a team that was sorely lacking inspiration. In a campaign almost bereft of highlights, he netted a wonder goal with a sumptuous, swerving strike from outside the box in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home against Udinese last October.

Disappointing player of the year – Maya Yoshida

Japanese national team captain Maya Yoshida was one of several culprits to underperform in a defensive unit full of sieve-like holes. The central defender was dropped for Alex Ferrari in the final few games of a wretched season in which he often looked badly off the pace along with Omar Colley. Samp’s entire backline, including full-backs Bartosz Bereszyński and Tommaso Augello, were culpable of gifting goals on an alarmingly regular basis. Although Yoshida, 33, netted twice early in the campaign, the low point came when he scored an own goal as Juventus took advantage of shocking defending to claim an easy 3-1 victory in Genoa in March.

@SKasiewicz

 

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