Even before he took over the No. 10 jersey, whenever Paulo Dybala enters the field as a substitute, you immediately perk up. It doesn’t happen often, obviously, since he’s become such a centerpiece in this Juventus side, but this rainy Saturday evening in Turin saw our beloved Paulo come off the bench for the first time this young season.
He proceeded to absolute change how things are going.
Sure, Juventus were already up 1-0 thanks to Perparim Hetemaj’s own goal in the first half. But when Dybala replaced Douglas Costa in the 54th minute, the game quickly turned.
Knowing the kind of form Dybala showed going into the international break, it might be easy to see why that happened.
Dybala played part in Miralem Pjanic’s beautiful assist on Gonzalo Higuain’s goal that made it 2-0. Then Dybala was on the receiving end of another pretty assist, this one from debutant Federico Bernardeschi, before weaving his way through Chievo’s backline and scoring his fifth goal in three Serie A games to start the season.
Basically, a rather meh game turned into the Dybala Show the moment he stepped onto the field. The boy’s special, ya know — and this was your latest reminder.
Dybala's game by numbers vs. Chievo:— Khaled Al Nouss (@khaledalnouss1) September 9, 2017
1 Key Pass
PA%: 89% pic.twitter.com/JxPELyytAZ
In case your eyes didn’t tell you Dybala was absolutely on fire, there are some numbers for you. Seriously, all of that in 37 minutes. A lot of players would call that a good 90 minutes. Paulo Dybala doesn’t need 90 minutes for all of that.
And it was arguably the biggest reason why Juventus are now able to say they’ve claimed all nine points possible this season in Serie A action.
Now we can fully turn our attention to the Champions League opener against Barcelona. If I’m remembering my facts correctly, Dybala did a few things against Barcelona the last time the two teams played in the Champions League. And with the way he’s playing right now, it would be hard to think he won’t do something once again.
We’re just currently all sitting in Paulo Dybala’s world and watching him take over. He’s wearing the No. 10, he’s playing like a superstar No. 10 and he’s only getting better. Max Allegri said after Saturday’s win that Dybala has the potential to become one of the best in the world. But on current form, he might already be there — even when he’s coming off the bench.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Who here had a shiver or two run down their arm or spine when Sergio Pellissier came on for Chievo in the second half? I ask just to make sure I wasn’t the only one.
- Seven different Juventus players attempted at least one shot in the first half. Kinda ironic that the one first-half goal was scored by a Chievo player ... on his own keeper.
- You gotta admit, though, it was a pretty good header. Just went the opposite direction of what Hetemaj had in mind, I’m sure.
- Pjanic has three assists in three games. Let me check ... yeah, that’s a pretty good pace.
- Credit where credit is due: Medhi Benatia had one of the biggest plays of the day, making a goal line clearance after a really good save from Wojciech Szczesny. There were no massive defensive errors from Daniele Rugani’s new central defensive partner, which is pretty good to see — and write — based on how he’s looked for most of the past 12 months.
- Pjanic wasn’t the only Juventus midfielder playing well on Saturday. I’d say it was a pretty good first career start in a Juve jersey for Blaise Matuidi, who really seemed to be everywhere you looked on the field. He really does bring something to the table that no other Juventus midfielder can replicate and he’s shown it in all three of his appearances thus far.
- No joke, 30 seconds before Higuain slammed home Juve’s second goal of the day, I tweeted this out after he decided to go with finesse instead of power in front of goal. Thanks for reading, Pipa!
- At the age of 23, I liked to think I was a relatively cool customer when it came to pressure situations. Then you see how Daniele Rugani acts under pressure and it would make anybody else look like a nervous wreck. He’s so calm, so cool, so collected. I love it. (Keep starting him, Max, because it’s starting to really pay off for him.)
- Barcelona time, folks. Here’s your first — of hopefully many — reminder that Lionel Messi has never scored a goal against Gianluigi Buffon.