The first picture that showed up in our photo tool from Saturday’s Juventus-Genoa game is one of those classic Max Allegri photos on the bench as he sports a giant ear-to-ear grin on his face.
Those happy feelings didn’t last all that long.
Within a minute, Juventus were down 1-0 due to a Miralem Pjanic own goal. Six minutes later, Juve were down 2-0.
At a stadium like the Luigi Ferraris where nothing has come easy for Juventus over the last few years, it was the kind of disastrous start that could have had them crumbling and going into the international break with a negative vibe hanging over them.
But then Paulo Dybala happened. And again. And then Juan Cuadrado, who once again had a terrible overall game, struck the go-ahead goal. And then Dybala completed his hat trick, leading Juventus out of a 2-0 hole seven minutes in to claim a 4-2 win over Genoa at the Marassi.
Just your average six-goal game that was more clown shoes than it was a classic kind of thriller that had everybody out of their seats every couple of minutes.
But Max Allegri wanted three points, and his team got it.
It was far from conventional, far from how you want to draw things up when thinking of a classic kind of Juventus win.
Yet I’m sitting here and I can’t stop thinking about Paulo Dybala scoring goals. And goals. And goals.
Paulo Dybala has scored his first ever hat-trick in Serie A.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 26, 2017
He now has 50 goals in the Italian top-flight. pic.twitter.com/Gug1nPw6wq
I understand that Cuadrado scored the game-winner — and we’ll get to him in a minute, folks — but there would be no game-winning goal if not for the efforts of Juventus’ new No. 10.
You go back to the Supercoppa when he was still in the No. 21 shirt and he has scored six goals in three games. My quick math tells me Dybala is averaging a brace in Juve’s three competitive games this season. My logic tells me that’s pretty, pretty good.
He’s just on a completely different level this season and I, for one, am enjoying the hell out of it.
“We remembered what happened in this fixture last season and it inspired us to fight back and turn it around,” Dybala said after the game.
That’s a pretty big point. Juventus could have packed it in and let things get out of hand just like they did a season ago when Genoa won 3-1. But they didn’t. In this game’s own unique way, Dybala and Juventus not only got back into the game, they then tied it, got the lead and head back to Turin with three points in their pocket.
The route to get there wasn’t anything like he so desired — the suit jacket didn’t even stay on through the first half, by the way — but isn’t that the biggest thing that Allegri wanted anyway?
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- NEVER LEAVE US, PAULO DYBALA. NEVER EVER LEAVE US.
- Seriously, how good is this guy? It’s not just the goals, either. He’s on fire and it is so gosh-dang fun to watch.
- Paulo Dybala’s WhoScored rating: Perfect 10. That’s rather fitting these days.
- Who here also had a rise in their blood pressure whenever they saw Genoa going on a counterattack? There are still plenty of things to hammer out when it comes to Juventus’ midfield and defense these days, and this one might be at the top of the list.
- Controversial opinion: VAR is not going so well in Serie A. And it’s now going to cause players to argue every single little thing that happens in the penalty area. Yes, even more than before. Much, much more than before, actually.
- This is the part where we get to Juan Cuadrado, the always-frustrating, sometimes-helpful Juventus winger who once again did not play well. I give you the fact that he scored the game-winning goal. It was a very good goal set up by a very good Mario Mandzukic pass over the top of the Genoa defense. However, this was his third straight absolute dud of a game — outside of the goal, of course — and it’s leaving a lot of us wondering why Allegri continues to play him both from the start and heavy minutes considering the other options he now has on the wings. I said it in the preview and I will say it here, too: We know that Cuadrado is a favorite of Allegri, but at some point you have to wonder when the quality of play will take precedent over the quality of form.
- Also on the list of those not having a good game: Sami Khedira. I miss the Brother Sami of the beginning of last season where he was absolute force in the center of the midfield. The current-day Sami looks nothing like that.
- It’s interesting to see Allegri throw Blaise Matuidi into the fire while Federico Bernardeschi hasn’t even seen a second of action in Juve’s first two Serie A games. Beppe Marotta had a comment that said that Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa have long-term contracts so there will be plenty of time for them to get playing time, which is true, but it’s to see Matuidi, who has been with Juve for a little more than a week, go right in there and get good chunks of time on the field.
- Under-the-radar really good game today: Stephan Lichtsteiner. That’s two in a row for him, which is a big deal considering what Juve’s right back situation was at the beginning of the summer.
- Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani combined for 12 clearances, according to WhoScored. That’s more than the rest of the team combined. The way Genoa was attacking for most of the game, every single one of those — especially the ones in the second half — were desperately needed.
- Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa might not have played, but we got some Rodrigo Bentancur minutes on Saturday. If there’s one good thing to come out of Claudio Marchisio’s injury it’s that we could get some Bentancur playing time with Juve down a central midfielder.
- In closing, Paulo Dybala is really, really good and I am very happy he is a Juventus player.