Sampdoria Club Focus: There is No Place Like Home
Lazio are the only team to have defeated Sampdoria at the Marassi since Rossi replaced Ciro Ferrara in December last year. Samp’s 1-0 loss ruined Rossi’s return to coaching but that result has proven to be the exception to the rule.
After the loss, Sampdoria followed-up with a 0-0 draw against AC Milan, dishing out a 6-0 thrashing to Pescara, beating Roma 3-1 and the latest win against Chievo, in which Doria triumphed 2-0.
The Marassi is slowly becoming a fortress again and Doria’s home record atones for the lack of wins on the road. Aside from the shock 2-1 win against Juventus, Samp’s away record under Rossi isn’t very impressive. Two 0-0 draws against Torino and Napoli followed a 1-0 loss against Siena.
Despite the lack of goals in away matches, Doria are still solid defensively. At home, the defence is still tough to crack yet the team can still attack and get their share of goals.
Rossi has set-up the team in a 3-5-2 formation and Sampdoria’s mindset can vary during matches. The doriani can press opponents all over the pitch in the opening minutes, go into a defensive shell and then attack again. Rossi’s men can attack or hit on the break.
One of the keys to the 3-5-2 working is the placement of central midfielder Angelo Palombo as a centre-back. He has used his passing skills to play the ball out from the back or even hit a long pass to a man in space. In recent matches Daniele Gastaldello has moved into this role but has usually opted for short passes.
Using wing-backs has also been an important ingredient to Sampdoria’s home form. Marcelo Estigarribia has been moved from the right-wing to the left wing-back position, a role he played in sporadically for Juve last season. His offensive input has improved, even scoring the first goal against Roma.
Lorenzo De Silvestri is the other wing-back, finally getting a chance to play after receiving little time under Ferrara. He has been a menace for opponents on the right side of the pitch and he has been able to get into goal-scoring positions. What is missing is the finishing of a Christian Maggio or Stephan Lichtsteiner.
In the centre of midfield, Nenad Krsticic is the holding midfielder and Pedro Obiang regularly wins the ball in midfield but it is Andrea Poli who is starting to flourish under Delio Rossi. He doesn’t get into scoring positions as much as he would like but his creativity has been vital in Doria’s attacking forays. His passing and dribbling have been exemplary.
Offensively there isn’t a clear-cut star but there have been some excellent displays from the Sampdoria strikers. Mauro Icardi scored four goals or got what the Italian pundits call a “poker” against Pescara. He also sealed the win against Roma, in which Gianluca Sansone starred on debut. Since then Sansone too has troubled defences with his runs and link-up play.
Everyone in the starting 11 has had their role to play in the current Sampdoria team and Rossi’s game plan is so far working dividends. Travelling isn’t the best thing for Samp but under Rossi, the doriani have shown that there is no place like home.