Rising From The Bench: Luca Pellegrini's Astonishing Defensive Transformation

December 28, 2023

Last Luca Pellegrini's match against Empoli garnered significant attention, as he was chosen to replace the excluded Lazzari and was given preference over Hysaj, ultimately asserting his dominance on the left side from the very beginning.

His morale was shattered by the distance from the field, and his performances as a substitute were subpar. After the recent Italian Cup match, he openly shared his struggle with spending the last 14 games on the bench, acknowledging the difficulty of being a competitive player in such a situation.

In spite of the challenges, he displayed readiness and during the Lazio-Genoa match in the Italian Cup, he skillfully established himself as a co-protagonist by providing an assist for Guendouzi's goal, ultimately aiding Lazio in advancing to the quarter-finals.

In the last Serie A match, Pellegrini exhibits a high level of intensity, physical prowess, and unwavering focus, further solidifying what was previously observed.

According to the statistics analyzed throughout the game, he favorably contributed to the offensive movement, having the most touches of the ball within the team, 69, with a passing accuracy of 81% and performing two dribbles on three attempts.

The most notable and surprising aspect of his game is definitely the defensive phase, which he struggled with the most, and for this reason he was frequently preferred by Sarri over other full-backs.

He appears to have improved in both defensive line positioning and, more importantly, in reading dangerous situations. This is evident by the fact that all ninety minutes of play saw successful closes and tackles.

His performances are certainly improving; we all know how difficult it is to fit into the coach's defensive plans, but he appears to have done so. Luca Pellegrini can likely compete for a starting spot in this style and become Sarri's indispensible player. 

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