Juventus managed to seal their second consecutive win in Serie A this season, defeating a stubborn Sampdoria 3-2 at the Allianz Stadium in an early Sunday afternoon kick-off. Rain, tears shedding from Paulo Dybala’s eyes, and Juventus struggling to kill the game and consequently suffering from the likelihood of a late tragedy were some of the themes during a dramatic afternoon in Turin.
Paulo Dybala broke the deadlock with a top-notch finish in the tenth minute of the game. Leonardo Bonucci had made it two just before Maya Yoshida halved the deficit with a powerful header before half-time. Manuel Locatelli clinched his debut goal for Juve, with Antonio Candreva giving the visitors a slim chance of a late revival. Juventus, though, held on for the win.
The three points on Sunday has put Juventus in a much favourable position in the points table. With eight points from six games, the Bianconeri have entered the top half of the tally. The victory will undoubtedly hand them a massive boost — especially ahead of their Champions League tie against the European champions on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, we are here to dissect today’s performance. Without any further ado, let us jump into the three key takeaways from Juventus’ 3-2 victory over Roberto D’Aversa’s men.
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3. Manuel Locatelli stole the show, with Bentancur doing his job effectively but without making much noise
Allegri, as opposed to the reports before the game, chose to keep his faith in Rodrigo Bentancur. In the midweek against Spezia, the Uruguayan was extremely poor and got subbed off in halftime. Despite witnessing that performance, Allegri decided to name Bentancur alongside Manuel Locatelli for the game against Sampdoria. It indeed was a bold choice from the returning Juventus boss.
In his preferred 4-4-2 formation, Locatelli and Bentancur were the only natural midfielders with a firm grasp on the defensive side of things, with Federico Bernardeschi and Chiesa focusing less on their defensive traits. However, the way the tandem controlled the whole game warrants some serious credit.
In one end, Locatelli was excellent, scoring his first of possibly many in the Bianconeri colours and also providing a cunning assist for the first goal scored by Paulo Dybala. It was a joy to watch Locatelli running the midfield like that. According to the stats from Whoscored.com, the former AC Milan midfielder had four attempts, with one of them being on target.
If we disregard Locatteli’s goal and assists, Bentancur was much more influential in the middle of the park, as shown by the statistics of Whoscored.com. As per the stats, the 24-year-old made three interceptions (most of any Juventus player out there) against Sampdoria and took the responsibility of a box-to-box midfielder and applying forward pressure while Locatteli was more inclined to sitting deep and shielding the defence. It was a magnificent afternoon, certainly for the midfield pairing. They will be hoping for something of a similar ilk against Chelsea in midweek.