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Juventus 3 - Sassuolo 1: Initial reaction and random observations

US Sassuolo v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Sunday afternoon’s trip to the Mapei Stadium marked Paulo Dybala’s 100th appearance in a Juventus shirt. It took all of two seasons and a month to get there, but Juventus’ new No. 10 hit one of his first big career milestones.

It just so happens that he also took his already red-hot form up another level.

Dybala scored his 50th, 51st and 52nd goals of his short but incredibly impressive Juventus career in Sunday’s win over Sassuolo. And holy smokes, you guys, each goal was absolutely different yet absolutely fantastic at the same time.

You had a one-time left-footed curler.

You had a left-footed toe poke.

You had a classic Dybala free kick with his left that the keeper had absolutely no chance in stopping the moment it left his boot.

When it was all said and done and the ball on Dybala’s second-half free kick left Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli with no chance and then hit the back of the net, the young Argentine officially recorded his second straight hat trick away from Turin.

Let’s just go ahead and update our Dybala goal tally in Serie A this season:

Appearances: 4

Goals scored: 8

Let’s also go ahead and update our Dybala goal tally for the entire 2017-18 season to date:

Appearances: 6

Goals scored: 10

That’s pretty good. PRETTY, PRETTY GOOD.

As Gonzalo Higuain struggles to truly kick things into gear to begin this new season, Dybala is the complete opposite. He has taken the No. 10 jersey and all the responsibility on the field that comes with his position. You expect talented players in their early-20s to get better as they get more experience under their belts and gain the kind of confidence that is necessary to be consistent forces within their respective team.

But this, this kind of form, we haven’t seen this from a Juventus player in I don’t know how long. Dybala scored in bunches during his first couple of months with the Italian champions, but it was nothing like this. He’s as locked in as he’s ever been and it’s almost like he’s taking his game up a notch or two with every game that he plays.

It’s wonderful to just sit back and watch this kid work right now.

And, man, I’m sure glad he’s a Juventus player. That’s for damn sure.

It was a performance that made Juve’s beautiful new yellow away kits look even the more better. But Dybala could be out there wearing a torn up shirt and shorts and still make things turn to gold. That’s just how this meteoric rise into one of the game’s best has gone the last two years and change.

Simply put, it’s Paulo Dybala’s world right now and we’re just living in it.


  • Pre-game thought No. 1: I guess it’s easy to not worry about Domenico Berardi when he’s out injured.
  • Pre-game thought No. 2: Daniele Rugani back in the starting lineup. That’s how it should be just about every single time Juve plays.
  • Pre-game thought No. 3: It’s going to be interesting to see how Pol Lirola does with Alex Sandro and Mario Mandzukic on the same flank as him. We know he’s more attack-minded than a defensive specialist, so his runs forward might not be as plentiful as they might be against somebody else.
  • Post-game thought about Lirola: He played pretty well considering he had to go up against a tank in Mandzukic and Sandro playing his best game of the season to date.
  • Juventus’ defending on Sassuolo’s goal ... yeah, we won’t talk about that. Bad, bad and bad all the way around.
  • He didn’t get as forward as much after halftime as he did in the first half, but to see Alex Sandro spinning in crosses like he did — especially those first two, they were classic balls into the box — and be involved was a pretty good sign. I’d venture to guess that was probably Sandro’s best single half of football so far this season.
  • I must admit, Juan Cuadrado started the game out really well. He was a threat on the right wing and really was creating some chances for Dybala and Higuain. Then he went and got all Cuadrado-y, turning the ball over on simple dribbles when he tried to go right at a defender and that miss of a somewhat wide-open goal is surely one he’s going to be thinking about for a couple of hours on the trip back to Turin.
  • Nice of Max Allegri to give Federico Bernardeschi seven minutes of game time. I’m sure that’s gotta make Fede feel good.
  • Just starting to wonder if it’s time that Higuain gets a game off to rest his mind a bit. He was clearly frustrated for a large part of the afternoon even with Juve up a goal or two. Too bad that with Mandzukic playing so well as a winger right now that Juventus don’t have a natural backup to replace Higuain.
  • In closing, Paulo Dybala. Just felt like saying that one more time.