Juventus and Sampdoria had it out at the Luigi Ferraris Saturday afternoon to kick off the final round of the Serie A season, and results were something close to what happened when the teams met in January.
Sampdoria did the double on the champions with a 3-2 victory, their third victory in their last six league matches against Juve dating back to 2009-10.
It was a scoreline that didn't reflect the proceedings on the field. Juve held 64 percent of possession and outshot Samp 26-10 (and 12-4 in shots on target). That general dominance didn't pay off in terms of the scoreline, though.
The team's problems in front of goal are Juve's biggest takeaway from this match. Their problems in front of goal have been the one black spot on their two-year run of dominance in the Serie A. In both games against Samp this year Juve has been in position to score much more than they did. They dominated proceedings today from a possession standpoint and played most of the first match in January a man up after a red card to Gaetano Berardi.
But the team was unable to make either of those advantages pay. It's time for Juve to completely overhaul the striking force. Fernando Llorente is already on the way after completing a four-year deal to come to Turin at the end of the January transfer window. But he will not be the only reinforcement this season.
A Tuttosport report in football-italia.net has revealed that Juve is looking to make huge changes this summer. Beppe Marotta is said to be targeting Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Arjen Robben and Nani. Recently news also broke that Carlos Tevez's agent has contacted the club.
Until recently it was assumed that Juve would only have the money to bring in one other big signing in attack. If, however, rumors of a stadium naming rights deal with Samsung prove true it may give them the financial firepower to make more of a splash in the transfer market. It's clear that in order to compete at the European level—and hold of an AC Milan team that will likely be much improved—such a splash is needed.
As for Samp, it was an impressive way to end their return to the top flight. They will finish no lower than 15th—14th if Atalanta fails to win tomorrow.
The Genovese outfit spent a lot in the summer in an effort to stay up, and most of those moves paid off. In particular Marcelo Estigarribia, who last year tasted scudetto glory with the bianconeri, had a fantastic match, assisting on both of Samp's open-play goals and making five key passes.
The blucerchiati are on solid footing to build for an extended stay in the Serie A, but they must be intelligent as they try to reload in this transfer window. Young striker Mauro Icardi—scorer of 10 goals this season, including three against Juventus—is set for a move to Inter, and there is a blossoming battle between Juventus and Milan for the services of midfielder Andrea Poli.
Even while announcing the departure of the promising Icardi, Samp president Edoardo Garrone insisted that other top players such as Pedro Obiang and Nenad Kristicic are staying put for at least another year as Samp looks to regain the glory days when they played Champions League soccer.
The pieces are there for Sampdoria, and if they're used properly they can look to more than just survival in the seasons to come. In the other locker room, Juventus needs the killer forward play it hasn't had since the last of the great Del Piero/Trezeguet seasons. If they get it and combine it with their excellent midfield, insanely good defense and the best goalkeeper in the world in Gianluigi Buffon, this could turn into one of the elite teams on the continent.