Saturday September 22 2018
Home comforts for Sampdoria

Sampdoria could've been in Europe last season with a better away record, so Billy Wilkinson wonders why they're so formidable at Marassi.

The contrast between Sampdoria’s home and away form last season was one of the biggest mysteries in Italian football. Their home record was up there with the best, gaining 39 points at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, second only to Juventus and Napoli. Their away form, however, can only be compared to those battling relegation with a measly 15 points, the fifth worst travelling record in the league.

If Sampdoria’s away from had been at the very least average, then they could have snatched a Europa League place and maybe even finished above Milan. At the end of the season, it proved to be incredibly costly to what was a very impressive campaign.

It’s difficult to actually pinpoint why Sampdoria were so poor away from home. One plausible theory is that so much of Marco Giampaolo’s game-plan is based on controlling the midfield, last season especially with young star Lucas Torreira.

In away games, they’re less likely to see as much of the ball. Defending has never been a strong point during Giampaolo’s reign, but it’s pointing out the obvious that if Sampdoria aren’t in possession of the ball, then their questionable defence is going to be seriously pressured.

It’s a small sample size of course, but after two games Sampdoria already have a fifth of the points they amassed last season and that’s just from winning one match. The five-nil battering of Frosinone should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it’s still a significant result. Not just because away wins are so seldom for this team, but the ruthless manner they went about it.

The opening matchday defeat to Udinese may have been a cause for concern and a hint of ‘Here we go again’ but the Frosinone win was an emphatic way to get the monkey off their back.

Sampdoria’s last away victory before that was 2-1 win over Atalanta in early April. It’s entirely plausible and a little bit likely that the away record stat had manifested inside the minds of this Sampdoria squad. Some of the away losses, particularly the tail end of the season, were downright pathetic, almost as if Samp had lost the game just by having to leave their own stadium.

Some good news for the Blucerchiati is that their football at home seems as potent as it was last season. The 3-0 win against Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli shows how quickly this side can turn teams over. They’re incredibly efficient at turning up the tempo until their opponents struggle to keep up and give up key chances, as illustrated in that win.

Even if their home form regresses a bit, which is entirely possible considering how high their standards are, but their away form improves considerably, which is likely considering how low the standards are, then Sampdoria could make a serious claim for a European spot.

This is no mean feat considering the quality of opposition they’re coming up against. It’s still early days, but if Sampdoria are lingering in top seven range come Christmas, they may very well stay there.

Have your say...
If Samp's finances were a bit better n with their very good scouting system then they'd be in Europe every season. Not least because of Giampaolo.
on the 30th September, 2018 at 5:26am
Inter goal should have been disallowed for obstruction and Samp should have had a penalty. Unlucky Samp.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 6:17am
A bit naive article, Giampaolo is a complete coach & his strong points lies in his game generally, off, def & transitions and also set plays. Giampaolo "first" strong point is his back line & how many hours he dedicated to prefect zonal marking. So criticizing his game or way of playing is better than saying "Defending has never been a strong point during Giampaolo’s reign", especially when he's known -in Italy for years- for his meticulous work on defence, that is even Sarri studied him in 2006
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 3:55pm
it will be great to test our guts here, keeping a clean sheet will be a challange. As for samp they are always my bet for going all the way in europa; lazio, fiorentina should be punished for not winning the competition for decades.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 8:36am

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