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Nicolò Barella vs. Manuel Locatelli: A statistical comparison ahead of matchday 27

We take a closer look at how the two Italian midfielders are getting on this season

Monday, June 22, 2020

Nicolò Barella vs. Manuel Locatelli: A statistical comparison ahead of matchday 27

Serie A has resumed again after a long break due to the COVID-19 emergency, with games set to come thick and fast from here on in. Among the many encounters set to take place on matchday 27 is Inter vs. Sassuolo, a match-up that will see Nicolò Barella and Manuel Locatelli come face to face. Here’s a statistical comparison between the two young emerging talents.

De Zerbi’s trust in Locatelli has led to high performance levels from a player who came through Milan’s youth ranks. He’s become a central pillar in a project which is heading in the right direction, as reflected by Sassuolo’s recent form. As for Barella, he was a player that Conte very much wanted as the former Azzurri Head Coach continues to shape his new-look Inter side. After a brief settling-in period, the young Italian midfielder has become a regular fixture in the Nerazzurri’s starting eleven.

Both Barella and Locatelli have been involved in 20 matches so far, gracing the pitch for a similar amount of time: 1,415 and 1581 minutes respectively. The Inter man has started 16 matches, while the Neroverdi midfielder has been named in the starting line-up on 19 occasions up to this point.

De Zerbi’s Sassuolo play a possession-based game and are third in Serie A when it comes to the number of passes made and pass precision, behind only Juventus and Napoli. Locatelli, who aims to pull the strings in a deeper role, has looked to play the ball to his teammates 1078 times and has a pass completion rate of 85.9%. Barella, meanwhile, tends to get forward more and has made 686 passes, completing 83.6% of them.

As for their defensive work, Locatelli has won more challenges (32 compared to 16) and made more clearances (18 compared to nine) and interceptions (21 compared to nine), although he has committed more fouls (34 compared to 27). Both have been booked eight times but neither have been sent off.

While Barella has scored one goal from four shots, Locatelli is still waiting to get off the mark this season after failing to score with any of his five efforts at goal. However, he has provided four assists, one more than Barella, and created 29 goalscoring opportunities, 15 more than the Nerazzurri midfielder.