When Antonio Candreva arrived at Sampdoria from Inter in the early stages of the 2020/21 season, it seemed that the experienced winger’s career was at the crossroads.
After a solid first season on loan with the Blucerchiati, the club were obligated to buy him outright from the Nerazzurri for €2.5 million.
Amazingly, the 34-year-old is having a career revival and he has had an impressive start to the 2021/22 Serie A season, scoring three times and supplying two assists in the first seven rounds.
CANDREVA BECOMES SAMPDORIA’S TALISMAN
New coach Roberto D’Aversa has continued with the 4-4-2 formation that was used under his predecessor Claudio Ranieri and Candreva has maintained his place on the right side of midfield.
Although he has been known to run tirelessly up and down the right flank, the former Lazio and Inter winger is not always situated on the right during Sampdoria games. He has shown that he can switch to the left-wing or play down the middle like a No.10.
Candreva has developed a greater understanding with right-back Bartosz Bereszynski, and the duo know when to run into the right areas as well as not run into each other’s way.
The goals that the veteran winger have scored have been a delight as well. His goal in the 3-0 victory away to Empoli was an excellent bending strike, the consolation goal in the 3-2 defeat to Juventus was a well-placed low shot, and his strike in the latest 3-3 draw to Udinese on Sunday afternoon was a sight to behold, which full of power and swerve.
With striker Fabio Quagliarella struggling at 38 years of age, Il Doria need another experienced leader on the pitch who can turn a game around. Candreva has shown that even when his team is down, he will fight and also provide some spark.
RESULTS NOT A REFLECTION ON BLUCERCHIATI PERFORMANCE
Sampdoria have not had the most inspiring start to the campaign, winning just once in the open seven rounds of the 2021/22 Serie A season, but the results do not tell the full story.
The Blucerchiati have had one of the toughest draws in the opening rounds of the campaign but they have played well even against the most illustrious of opponents.
Il Doria drew 2-2 at home against reigning Serie A champions Inter and perhaps should have won that game while they could have snatched a draw away to Juventus.
Even in the 4-0 defeat to league leaders Napoli, the Doriani created an abundance of chances in the first half only to find Partenopei goalkeeper David Ospina in inspired form.
One of the issues that D’Aversa has struggled to address is the leaky defence. The Blucerchiati have conceded 13 goals in seven games, and the goals have been caused by either individual errors or structural issues.
Sampdoria play with a high defensive line which leaves them exposed on the counter-attack, but even when the Doriani defend deep or at a set piece, the defenders struggle to read the play, mark opponents, or press.
Samp’s strikers are yet to register impressive numbers as well. Quagliarella’s penalty against Udinese was his first league goal of the season and Francesco Caputo’s double against Empoli are his only goals of the campaign so far.
If D’Aversa can tighten up the defence and the strikers become more clinical, Il Doria can climb up the table.