A controlling midfield
Juventini got their wish on Tuesday night as Arthur Melo and Manuel Locatelli started together in midfield for the very first time this season.
The results? Oof.
Arthur seamlessly slotted into the regista function and his presence facilitated the frequent advancement upfield of Locatelli. Both were majestic in their respective roles against Sampdoria. Arthur, who was dogged out of possession, added security to Juve’s build-up and the odd sequence of efficient ball-progression. He combined nicely with Locatelli as Juve dominated the ball thanks to their pressing and sound work in possession. Unforced errors were kept to a minimum.
Together, they took the game away from a beleaguered Sampdoria midfield through sheer technical supremacy. While Arthur insidiously seized control, Locatelli was a man possessed; demonic in all phases. The elegant Italian was quite magnificent and the dynamic these two have quickly established will surely give Allegri food for thought ahead of the trip to Milan on Sunday.
So far, the cautious Juve boss has been reluctant to use the Brazilian against better opposition due to his defensive deficiencies, especially in transition. However, Arthur has certainly done enough to play himself into Sunday’s XI and his performance on Tuesday makes you query why Juve are so keen to facilitate his exit this month.
The metronomic midfielder could have a huge role to play in the second half of the season.