Arthur Melo is an amazing, unique footballer. His style of play is very rare in the days of physicality and speed, and is the main reason why he was signed by Barcelona. He started off great, then he lost his spot in the lineup to a more physical, faster midfielder, and as he joined the Brazilian national team for the 2019 Copa America the feeling was he could use the tournament to build up his confidence. Instead, he’s using the tournament to show Barça where and how he should play.
He’s already said that the way he’s used in the Brazil system is much different than his role at Camp Nou, and he really wanted to say that his role for the Seleção is much better for him. And that was clearly shown in Brazil’s destruction of Peru: Arthur was just special, taking control of the game from the start and making the perfect decision every time. He was heavily involved in the buildup from the back, which is his best skill, and his signature spin moves and the “no, I will not lose the ball as much as you try to take it away from me” moves were just beautiful.
Arthur is a truly special player when he’s allowed to get on the ball as much as he wants, where he wants to get it. He needs to be involved in the buildup, something he wasn’t capable of doing in the second half of the season at Barça as the team became even more direct and less dependable on possession and midfield control.
With Frenkie De Jong coming, Arthur has a perfect partner to share buildup responsibilities but he needs to be given the freedom to play as he wants. He’s not Iniesta-like, he’s Xavi, and Xavi needed at least 100 touches a game to truly affect it. That’s what Arthur did against Peru: he was always on the ball making things tick, and he was always an option to keep the play moving. The game was played at his pace, and Brazil would not have been as dominant if the game was played at another pace.
Give Arthur the keys to the midfield kingdom and just let him shine. His way.
Let’s change gears to Argentina and Lionel Messi, who play for their Copa América lives against Qatar on Sunday. Thanks to Peru’s terrible loss, a simple 1-0 win will be enough for the Albiceleste to qualify either in second or third place, and the three points are the only thing you can really ask from such a mediocre team.
Can Messi get, like, some help? Can Paulo Dybala get a few minutes? Can Lionel Scaloni not take Lautaro Martínez off when he looked like the perfect partner to Messi and Sergio Agüero? Of course not, because this Argentina team is bad and Messi will have to do it all by himself again. Maybe against a Qatar side not afraid to keep possession and that will leave space at the back, Argentina will get a chance to play a little differently and Leo may have some joy.
But as crazy as it sounds, we don’t now if Argentina can even draw with Qatar right now, which would also eliminate them. A win is an obligation, but at the same time is not the most realistic of possibilities. That’s how bad they are, and that’s why they’ll need the best player in the world to create magic once again.
Day 9 Results
Bolivia 1-3 Venezuela
Goals: Machís (2’, 55’), Justiniano (82’), Martínez (86’)
Peru 0-5 Brazil
Goals: Casemiro (12’), Firmino (19’), Everton (32’), Alves (53’), Willian (90’)
Goal of the Day
Dani Alves makes a one-two with Arthur, then with Roberto Firmino, and then the beautiful finish. This is a Barcelona goal (US only):
Day 10 Schedule
Qatar vs Argentina (9pm CET)