After ending last season in a disappointing 12th position, an all round improvement was needed for a Sampdoria outfit who only finished 13 points above the dreaded drop zone.
Managed by shrewd tactician Sinisa Mihajlovic, the Blucerchiati have come on leaps and bounds this term, and despite stumbling somewhat in recent weeks, were at one point contesting a Champions League spot.
One key aspect of their renaissance during this 2014/15 campaign has been the players’ grit and determination, with a variety of individuals also stepping up to the plate as they endeavour to make it into Europe for the first time in almost five years.
Ahead of tonight’s game, Juventus.com singles out Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang, explosive forward Luis Muriel and seasoned veteran Samuel Eto’o as the Sampdoria trio to keep tabs on.
Name: Pedro Obiang
Position: Defensive midfielder
Spanish midfielder Obiang continues to catch the eye after consistently stringing strong performances together in the middle of the park.
Blessed with an extraordinary athleticism and ability in breaking up opposition attacks, the 23-year-old also possesses excellent vision of the game and is normally the catalyst for Blucerchiati attacks.
A former Atletico Madrid youth graduate, the tough tackler joined Sampdoria back in 2008 and made his senior debut away at Juventus in a 3-3 draw at the Stadio Olimpico two years later.
Obiang’s progress is said to be being tracked by a number of European clubs and he has chipped in with three goals and an assist in this season’s Serie A.
Name: Luis Muriel
Position: Attacking midfielder/Striker
Capable of terrorising defences, Muriel is a forward who continues to make waves in Italy’s top flight.
Ambidextrous and pacy, the Colombian international spent four seasons with Udinese before joining Sampdoria during the January transfer window.
Since arriving in Genoa earlier, Muriel has struck four goals in 11 appearances, making him one of the most prolific signings of 2015.
The versatile 24-year-old can also fill in as an attacking midfielder and has drawn comparisons to famous Brazilian striker Ronaldo for his playing style.
Name: Samuel Eto’o
Much-travelled forward Eto’o returned to Italian football in January after a four-year absence and has so far contributed one goal and two assists in nine games for his new club.
The 34-year-old, who has won the African Player of the Year award a record four times, has a glittering CV which is indicative of his reputation as one of the best strikers of all time.
Having played for European giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea in his career, the former Cameroon international has enjoyed considerable success. Aside from his individual honours, Eto’o has picked up 20 winners’ medals in a variety of competitions.
During his time with Inter from 2009 to 2011, the veteran struck two goals in four appearances against the Bianconeri and he’ll be looking to add to that tally at the Luigi Ferraris this evening.