Sampdoria – Match Report vs Napoli 13/12/20

Sampdoria visited the newly named Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on the back of a torrid run of form. In contrast, Napoli were looking to close the gap on league leaders AC Milan. The home side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and dominated the early exchanges. However, I Blucerchiati grew into the game and began to frustrate Napoli with their compact 4-4-1-1 shape. The away side used two very narrow banks of four to constrict the space in and around the penalty area. Thus, Napoli were forced out wide and struggled to create chances. On the counter Sampdoria began to look increasingly threatening. They sought to get the ball out wide quickly to exploit the space vacated by Napoli’s onrushing full backs. In Candreva and Jankto, Sampdoria had two wingers with plenty of pace to drive them forward. Jankto did just that mid-way through the first half as he latched onto a through ball before providing a powerful finish to give his side the lead.

In an attempt to chnage the game Gattuso brought on both Lozano and Petagna. With Lozano on Napoli could now make better use of the wide space Sampdoria were affording them, while Petagna provided a much greater aerial presence inside the box. Ultimatly, these substitutions are what won Napoli the game. With Mertens playing deeper he was able to find more space and influence the game. He played some great balls to Lozano who ran Augello into the ground in the second half. Lozano equalised for Napoli, coming in at the back post to drive a header into the bottom corner. The eventual winning goal could not have been better for Gattuso as Lozano whipped a cross in for Petagna to head home.

Sampdoria never adjusted to these half time changes and struggled to provide an attacking threat in the second half. They were pinned in for much of the second 45 minutes and despite applying late pressure, were unable to equlise. The result left Ranieri’s men in desperate need of a win having lost five of their last seven games.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Morten Thorsby

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 05/05/1996
  • Current Club: Sampdoria
  • Career: Stabæk, SC Heerenveen, Sampdoria
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Today Thorsby operated as the left sided central midfielder in Sampdoria’s midfield four. Immediately, it was clear that he is an incredibly hard working player. As such, it is no surprise that he is third in the league for distance run with an average of 11.85km per game. Defensively, he was solid, he closed his men down quickly but was always cautious enough to not leave too much space behind him. Furthermore, if he did vacate central space he was always quick to retreat back into Sampdoria’s low block. He was constantly aware of the situation around him and was always looking around in order to check for potential runners or to alert his teammates to any danger. When jockeying, Thorsby can look a little unorthodox but generally, he was effective in these moments and did well to force the opposition backwards or out-wide.

Physically, Thorsby is fairly tall at 6’2 and he uses every inch to his advantage. He is not the most built out midfielder but he still dominated aerially. He posses a great leap and was really aggressive when competing for aerial balls and consequently, was rarely beaten. Similarly, he has has a hard but fair approach in his tackling and so he was never really out-competed. His slide tackles were well timed and executed despite being dubiously booked for one which was arguably not even a foul. Evidently, Thorsby provides a lot as a midfield enforcer who can break up play and facilitate more creative players in his team team.

Offensively, the Norwegian looked to join the attack but was never found in these areas and so had little impact. His passing was solid enough to effectively spray the ball out wide to set counter attacks in motion, but other than this he showed nothing exceptional. His inability to play decisive killer balls hindered some of Sampdoria’s counter attacks. This was most apparent when Thorsby had the opportunity to play Candreva in on goal, but his poorly weighted and aimed pass only gave the ball to Napoli. . However, he does have a neat touch and so is a competent ball carrier who uses his superior size to hold off opponents. Clearly, Thorsby’s strengths lie in his defensive ability and work-rate. He lacks the passing ability to control a game or create chances. Nonetheless, he is very effective at breaking up play and regaining possession.

Rating – B1

Jakub Jankto

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Czech
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 19/1/1996
  • Current Club: Sampdoria
  • Career: Udinese, Ascoli (L), Sampdoria
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Jakub Jankto operated down the left wing for Sampdoria and worked hard to help his side both offensively and defensively. Technically, he is a very capable player and was confident with both feet. He regularly shifted the ball between his feet when in tight spaces in order to change the angle for a pass. To compliment this, he has great pace meaning he was highly effective on the counter for La Samp. He made positive driving runs down the left and got his goal through this. Having recived the ball in acres of the space, he sprinted into the box before smashing the ball past Meret’s near post for hsi third of the season. He took his goal really well and demonstrated nice composure to settle himself after an initially poor first touch.

Along with being a tidy dribbler, Jankto also has a keen eye for a key pass. During the first half there were several moments where the winger was able to turn away from his man and play a well weighted ball beyond the Napoli back-line. Throughout, his weight of pass was impressive as he consistently applied the perfect amount of power onto the ball to put the ball exactly where it needed to be. Although, these opportunities dried up in the second half as Napoli began to dominate and break Sampdoria down.

Off the ball Jankto showed himself to be a really disciplined player an effective part of a low block. When his side lost possession he was quick to retreat back into the defensive structure. This required him to tuck in narrowly next to Thorsby and provide cover for Augello at left back. He performed this role successfully and exhibited good awareness to come inside and cover the central midfield space should Thorsby vacate this area. In addition, he made a few interceptions and battled well in challenges despite clearly not being the most adept tackler. At 6’0 he has an advantage over many opponents and his height certainly compensates for his lack of tackling ability.

Although, Jankto did play well today there is no doubt he could be more effective in a game where Sampdoria see more of the ball. With four goal contributions from ten games he has made a solid start to the season in an inconsistent team. If Sampdoria are able to find their best form again the goals and assists will surely continue to come for Jankto.

Rating – B1

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