Rodrigo Bentancur is definitely inside the top lists of Juventus fans’ most favorite young players to observe. His new role under Andrea Pirlo, however, showed very concerning and declining progress. Does Max Allegri know what’s best for him? And what has set Bentancur progress on hold? Is there anything related to Pirlo’s tactical scheme? Let’s answer all of that below!
- Allegri believes in Bentancur, shown by the experiment to replace his position with Aaron Ramsey
- The double-pivot role is believed to hold Bentancur’s progress and development
- Juventus needs to move on and tinker its squad for a three-midfielders approach
Bentancur and Allegri
Fresh memory regarding Allegri’s statement towards Juventus coaching management on handling Rodrigo:
Max had implied that Bentancur seemed to be playing in a position that was not familiar with his style of play. Allegri believes that a player like Rodrigo is not good enough to play in front of his own defensive line.
Without doubting Bentancur’s technical quality, Max felt that Rodrigo had not played effectively under Andrea Pirlo’s scheme. This inefficiency is caused by Bentancur’s habit of often doing the “1-3” in this position.
“… he stops, looks, and then passes. Do you understand the concept?”
To put it more clearly, Bentancur takes too much time for a decision that should be instant. The consequences? Not only once did Rodrigo make a blunder from his substandard decisions in passes or from individual dribbles. To respond to this, it seems Allegri already has a solution. It is quite simple: do NOT put Bentancur in the same position and scheme as last season. Such a direct answer is yet highly solutive.
In other words, we are back with a three-man midfield with Bentancur not playing as our defensive midfielder anymore, obviously.
“Then, who will be the talisman in front of our defensive line?” – this is your question, isn’t it? Well, it appears to be everybody’s question.
Keep asking, because frankly enough, Allegri has a solution in mind, so let him show us what that is!
Read More: Going Loca Frustrated For Telli
The Ramsey’s Experiment
Do you still remember the unusual situations like Emre Can against Atletico Madrid, who was forced to play a full back position? Or with Cuadrado: a very offensive winger to a more defensively responsible role after being played as a wing-back?
This time, Max has another idea. Claudio Marchisio’s no.8 current wearer, Aaron Ramsey, is being tried by Allegri to play that role.
The result? We are kind of satisfied—regardless of the final result. This also helped Bentancur to find his natural position to play.
Curva Twitter looks happy for him too. Many of us saw his performance against Barcelona above the par with Ronaldo, Morata, and Cuadrado’s statistical scores. At least this is based on the popular Juve community voices. Or perhaps, it is just our subjectively biased opinion.
In another perspective, however, it is too premature to praise Bentancur so highly. Given that there are still scathing criticisms directed at him.
Some say his ball passing direction needs to have an urgency to go vertical rather than distributing it horizontally. Curva Twitter is also really loud at implying that he needs to speeds up his passing game.
Another example is by one of the most well-known Juventus authors, Adam Digby. He argued that although Bentancur has a good rating against Barcelona, the statistics are unable to justify his insignificant performance on the pitch.
“Bentancur is actively avoiding the ball, it’s sad to watch”.
Whether we agree with Adam and everybody else or not, we have one thing in common: Rugani was a total disappointment.
But that is a whole thing to discuss at another time.
Moving on from double-pivot midfielders
Bentancur was definitely involved in a lot of games under Andrea Pirlo. He played 33 matches, conducting with only 4 assists in Serie A last season.
Under Maurizio Sarri, Rodrigo doubled these last season’s assists and got himself 8 assists in 30 Serie A appearances. A much better performance statistically compared to the 20/21 season.
Noticeably enough, we were kicking ourselves: what happened with our Boca-Boy? He was once tagged for €50m in 2020 when clubs like Atletico Madrid were lurking around to land him.
Consequently, we have a hypothetical explanation of what may have happened to him. Therefore, it’s the double pivot and the low build-up approach under Andrea Pirlo that caused this.
Pirlo is notorious for his possession-based sides and encouraging his players to be active in pressing. A much more patient approach compared to the likes of Jose’s 4-2-3-1 and Flick’s Bayern Munich. At Juventus, the double pivot task has been assigned to two names so far: Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur.
The advantage of playing with a double pivot role is clear. It provides more players and areas to distribute the ball from the defensive line. In much simpler terms, Bentancur has the freedom to go deep into the defensive line. Hence, he can overload the opponent’s final third with ease.
A double pivot approach will most likely be a much more dynamic movement with more width. Resulting in more options in front of defense for ball distribution. Bentancur and Rabiot could then have much greater freedom from the defensive into the build-up phase. Switching up positions was also very common to see from Juventus’ last season.
The Questionable Option
Restating with Allegri’s quotes in the earlier section of this article, there are high expectations for players whose roles are in front of the defense. One of them must have the ability to move the ball quickly without too many risks.
Sadly, our boy Rodrigo Bentancur has not been able to fulfill this particular expectation yet.
The main principle of the double pivot approach is to cleverly take our time against the opponent’s pressing. It can be achievable through more options for ball distribution, possession, and trying to add more width into the game. With a less creative and agile midfielder, however, such objectives are hard to achieve.
The double-pivot method will also remove a player from occupying the center of the field. Therefore, there will be fewer options for the attacking build-up unless a striker goes deep or moves into channels.
It is bottlenecking when a midfielder, who has not got the right characteristics for that role, plays as a double pivot. This approach is going to reduce our team’s chance of scoring.
Moving on From Double Pivot Approach
In summary, the double pivot role is very demanding technically and mentally. In the technical aspect, it requires a quick transition of the ball when the opponent is pressing. Without any extreme risks, of course. Thus mentally, you need to keep your mind active: to keep moving and observe when the pivot is going to be left empty or overloaded.
With players who are not comfortable or familiar with this position, the result can be dire. Since the idea of the double pivot role is to complete each other: the team’s off the ball movement when in possession and possessing the ball to let the team move off the ball.
If both players are not qualified enough to handle a task and shift it into the other, it will end up our team leaving up huge space between midfield and our defensive lines. Furthermore, the opportunity for the opposition to overload our field centrally will be high.
Now, however, with the return of Bentancur to play in three-midfielders format, we are impatient and eager to see his transformation: mentally and technically.
Nobody likes it when they are forced to live out of their dreams, let alone the transition from a three-man-midfield into a double-pivot approach.
Fino alla fine. Forza Juve.