Landucci-ball is real, folks.
After overseeing Juventus’ remarkable comeback in Rome two weeks ago, Marco Landucci returned to touchline duties on Tuesday night as Massimiliano Allegri served his one-game Coppa Italia suspension.
And with Landucci patrolling the home dugout, Juventus produced one of their best performances of the season, if not the best, against Sampdoria to advance into the quarter-finals of Italy’s premier cup competition.
The 4-1 victory seemed inevitable from the outset with the manner the Bianconeri went about their work on Tuesday vastly impressive.
2 key factors in Juventus’ superb performance against Sampdoria
Here are two key factors in Juve’s superb performance against Sampdoria.
A brilliant press
While Allegri’s default approach this term has seen Juve block space in a 4-4-2 mid-block, they have pressed sporadically. In Serie A, their PPDA (passes per defensive action) is ninth-lowest in the division and they’ve accumulated the ninth-highest number of high turnovers (162) this season.
The fact that they rank somewhere in the middle for both metrics neatly depicts Allegri pragmatic and game-by-game approach to pressing.
On Tuesday, however, Juve’s 4-4-2 mid-block was completely absent. They were pressing high, often man-to-man, from minute one until the very end. Alvaro Morata led the press with strike partner Dejan Kulusevski screening Samp’s deepest-lying midfielder Thomas Rincon.
Kulusevski’s role allowed Manuel Locatelli and Arthur Melo to man-mark Samp’s other two midfielders, while Adrien Rabiot and Juan Cuadrado frequently left the midfield line to engage the exterior centre-backs when they had possession. Overall, Juve did a brilliant job in nullifying any progression through the centre and they effectively trapped the visitors out wide. Full-backs Alex Sandro and Mattia De Sciglio backed up the press superbly by engaging high on their respective wing-backs.
Juve’s superb press allowed them to dominate territorially and sustain pressure relentlessly. Sampdoria couldn’t get out of their half for the most part, and Juve’s third goal came after a high turnover. Locatelli picked the pocket of Giangiacomo Magnani and simultaneously teed up Paulo Dybala for an easy finish.
The sequence epitomised the efficacy of Juve’s press on Tuesday night and the overall display depicted the Bianconeri’s potential when they align with more progressive and modern ideals.