Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: 6 / Top scorer: Quagliarella (12) / Europe: N/A
A year ago the Blucerchiati were in need of a boost of luck and quality to kick them back into life following a 15th placed finish and just two points separating them from the drop. This season they have consolidated a top half position with wins away at both Milanese clubs as well as an ever-important double over their fiercest rivals Genoa.
It is hard to tell if Doria are victims of gross inconsistency or whether the last season was a blip, with the sides in Genova used to finishing in the upper echelons in the division, but what is clear from past seasons is keeping hold of star players has been a tall order.
Every summer requires a rebuild and ex-Empoli boss Giampaolo brought with him a tactical focus that made Samp dangerous opponents. There was a settling-in period, as his job was at risk during an early run of two points from six rounds, but the do-or-die victory in the Derby della Lanterna on October 22 proved a turning point.
From there, the Blucerchiati terminated Frank de Boer’s Nerazzurri career, shocked Roma in a 3-2 Marassi thriller and conquered San Siro against both Milan and Inter. They did take their foot off the gas in the closing months, picking up just four draws in the final eight rounds once mid-table comfort was secured. It now remains to be seen whether they’ll stick or twist next season.
Sampdoria beat their local rivals home and away, doing the Serie A Derby della Lanterna double for the first time since 1959-60. Despite seeing a penalty saved, the Blucerchiati still won the October meeting 2-1, then a late Luis Muriel strike plunged Genoa into despair in the reverse fixture.
More than just for Samp, it was a nightmare for Milan Skriniar, as in 18 minutes the defender was repeatedly turned inside out by Keita Balde Diao, gave away a penalty and was sent off. Lazio were 5-1 up by half-time, making this well and truly a day to forget.
- Despite a top-half finish, the longest run of victories Sampdoria put together was just three games, when they beat Roma, Milan and Bologna.
- The Blucerchiati hadn’t won at San Siro with both Milan and Inter in a single Serie A season since 1996-97.
- Samp’s last victory away to Inter had been 4-3 in December 1996, with Roberto Mancini on target, followed by nine wins and five draws.