Samp suffer Bonazzoli blow

Bad news during the winter break for Sampdoria. Leading Samp scorer and former Reggina forward, Emiliano Bonazzoli, looks like he will finish the season with his current 9 goals. During practice, he apparently suffered some ligament damage to his knee that will likely keep him out for the rest of the season.

Ever since Genoa's Sampdoria promoted back into Serie A for the 2003-2004 season, I've really liked their management's approach to competitiveness. Instead of building their squad for Serie A revenues with huge outlays for a couple of star players, Sampdoria's front office instead sought out diamonds in the rough. To this day, they are still essentially a squad of disgruntled players with chips on their shoulders -- players who once joined the big teams of Serie A but failed to live up to expectations and were since sold off. In the vernacular of Christmas TV specials, Sampdoria is Serie A's Land of Misfit Toys.

Last year Sampdoria surprised a number of people for how well they played as a unit. Their defense was solid, anchored by an outstanding season of their starting keeper Francesco Antonioli. Forward Francesco Flachi also gave the league's leading scorers a run for their money. Only in last season's final throes did Milan's Internazionale qualify just over Sampdoria for the final Champions League spot, with Sampdoria qualifying for this season's UEFA Cup.

This season, as the current table shows, Sampdoria is still in the hunt. But they have struggled a lot on defense. This despite the successes of one of my favorite Serie A players in Aimo Diana. And while Flacchi has a respectable 6 goals thus far, a few have come from penalties, and his offensive output just hasn't been the same this season. Remove Bonazzoli, and this team's attack could be, well, rather flaccid.



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