Douglas Costa has had an interesting two weeks for Juventus. He has shown that he is a player of immense quality. More than anything, it has sparked a resurgence for the Brazilian in Turin – but this was coming all along.
The former Bayern Munich man was key against Milan. He made a huge impact from the bench in the second half, making the Juve attack look a lot more dynamic. He was key in creating Paulo Dybala’s goal, completing as many as five dribbles in just 20 minutes.
While it was a sign of his quality, what happened against Lokomotiv Moscow was nothing short of brilliant. He played 20 minutes against the Russian side, impressing a lot as he helped the club win the game by scoring a Lionel Messi-esque goal in stoppage time.
The Brazilian completed four dribbles in that game too. He completed 17 passes and like always, he brought pace to the table. He changed the game because of his abilities, coming on for a static player in Sami Khedira.
Maurizio Sarri praised Douglas after the game. He told reporters:
“Douglas Costa has only just returned from a long injury, so he’s not yet the player he was. He’s still a little timid on the acceleration, but still has so much quality that he can play in any area and makes the difference.“
All of this is a reflection of how important a player Douglas is. Since his injury against Fiorentina, Juve looked sluggish while attacking. They have benefitted from a player like Paulo Dybala thriving and they are doing the same for Costa as well.
Dybala scored against Milan and Inter. In all competitions this season, he has scored five times and has gotten two assists already.
Costa’s last campaign at Juve was disappointing. He played in just 17 games in Serie A, scoring just once. Massimiliano Allegri’s system had failed players like Dybala and Costa. La Joya had also grown frustrated, racking up the most disappointing goals/assists tally at the Bianconeri.
In the 2017-18 season, Juve weren’t as slow. Costa had scored four times, assisting 12 times (via Whoscored). It is also worth noting that Costa came into the spotlight at Bayern Munich playing under Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Stadium.
In an attacking system, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man scored four times and assisted nine times in the 2015-16 season, and it was his most productive campaign of the season. But then Guardiola left Bayern at the end of the season, and the following 2016-17 campaign saw Costa score and assist six times each in all competitions (via Whoscored).
That’s proof of how he’s a player who needs two things to prosper. He needs to stay free from injuries. And he needs an attacking system to thrive. Every time he is fit under an attacking system, he will make an impact.
Costa sustained as many as four different injuries last season. He missed 25 games through them – a frustrating number for any player.
But the goal against Lokomotiv gave him immense satisfaction. He told reporters after the game:
“It is one of my most important goals in a Juventus jersey. I am happy to have come on and helped the team. I played as a trequartista a few times five or six years ago, so now I have to adapt all over again to this role.“
It will take some adaptation for him but if he stays fit enough for the last seven months of the season, there is no doubt that he will do just that.
A player like Costa rides on confidence and momentum. A prolific assister on his day, he represents the strength in depth that Juve boast of in the Serie A. Many other clubs can only dream of having a depth like theirs.
As the season wears on, the former Bayern man will only grow in prominence. But it all comes with the conditional aspect of fitness.