It’s funny, this whole players going in and out of form in what seems like the blink of an eye deal.
Just a few weeks ago, we were watching Paulo Dybala score a hat trick, a game against Benevento where the Argentinian striker was the driving force on an otherwise so-so day where Juventus was able to come away with a win. Since then, things haven’t been as wonderful and filled with happy thoughts. Dybala has struggled mightily, with his most recent appearance in Wednesday night’s draw against Crotone being more about what he didn’t do rather than multiple Dybala Mask appearances.
Could Dybala’s recent struggles spell Max Allegri making a change in Sunday’s showdown with Napoli in Turin?
That’s what Sky Sport Italia is hinting at right now.
There’s a second part to this possible Dybala-to-the-bench talk, of course. It’s the fact that, as Juventus’ official website mentioned on Thursday, that both Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic have returned to training — albeit in a partial sense — with the rest of the squad. It’s the Mandzukic part of the “they’re just back from injury and training again” that plays into this for obvious reasons.
Gonzalo Higuain will start because he’s been an absolute force against his former club.
Douglas Costa should start because he’s been an absolute force against pretty much anybody who lines up against Juventus lately.
That leaves two players ... and one spot, if Allegri sticks with a 4-3-3, up for grabs.
Just in case you didn’t feel like clicking on that link above to make sure I was actually citing the correct source, this is the lineup Sky Italia threw out there:
Juventus (4-3-3): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Mandzukic
If it is indeed Mandzukic over Dybala on the left, then that’s pretty much the best lineup Allegri can roll with right now. We’re past the injury crisis phase of the season, which is nice to see take place because I’m tired of people yelling at me on Twitter about how Juve need to sign 20 players this season for extra squad depth.
There aren’t many decisions to be made about the Juventus starting lineup these days. Not being in the Champions League and having no more midweek games in league play as well pretty much eliminates the need for squad rotation the rest of the way. But, whether this is serious or just something to help pass the time until Sunday arrives, trying to figure out if Dybala is starting against Napoli or not is suddenly a thing to talk about.