There have been a good number of games in the past month or two that have had the kind of thought process ending with “If only Paulo Dybala had scored a goal ...” Not because Dybala not scoring cost Juventus points, but mostly because his performances have been so good and so consistent this season that Juve’s No. 10 not finding the back of the net almost seemed like a minor crime.
On Wednesday night, Dybala got his goal to go with yet another great performance. And there was a little bit more than just a goal, too.
Juventus’ first three goals in its 4-0 win over Udinese had a heavy, heavy Argentinian flavor to them. That’s mainly because of Dybala ... as well as Gonzalo Higuain. Assisting on the first on what was a brilliant combination sequence with Higuain and then scoring the next two, Dybala left his mark all over the field to help Juventus advance to the Coppa Italia quarterfinals with Juve’s second dominant win over Udinese in a month.
I think we know what the highlight of the night is.
Higuaín Dybala Higuaín Dybala Higuaín Dybala Higuaín goal ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/5DpNquG9xY— James Nalton (@JDNalton) January 15, 2020
The announcers on ESPN Deportes obviously went nuts because that’s what they do after a lot of really pretty goals. But, knowing that there was a total of six passes between Dybala and Higuain before Pipita finally put the ball into the back of the net, it was only right that they lost their mind with that goal.
“SARRRRRRRRIBALL!!!” was the punctuation on the call from one of them.
And, sure, Udinese rotated what seemed like its entire squad — which meant a team that is already sitting in 12th place in the league and lost to Juventus this season in pretty bad fashion rolled out its second-string squad. But, even with all of the changes that Maurizio Sarri made, seeing Juve dominate in the fashion they did and play with some serious flair and substance rather than grinding out a result like we’ve seen so many times.
We can thank Dybala’s big night for a lot of that.
To see where he is at this point of the 2019-20 season compared to what he was dealing with form-wise a year ago is night and day. The confidence is just flowing about as freely as we’ve seen from Dybala in probably a couple of years, and the form he’s on right now — even when he isn’t finding the back of the net — is why it’s such a blessing that his potential moves away from Turin ended up breaking down before they became a reality.
Dybala is playing like a No. 10 again.
And Dybala is the No. 10 that Juve needs to try and achieve their lofty expectations again this season.
It might have been the Coppa Italia Round of 16 and against a side that was far from full strength, but seeing Dybala — and pretty much everybody else in bianconero as well — do what he did was just about as chef’s kiss worthy of a game as Juventus has had this season.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I would like to request Juventus to add about seven or eight more years onto the contract extension the front office is reportedly preparing for Paulo Dybala. This season’s of Dybala is soooooo much more fun to watch than last season’s one.
- Udinese spent so little time in Juventus’ defensive third of the field that Gigi Buffon could have been napping for two hours and it wouldn’t have really made a difference at all. (Although, on the plus side, it was good to have him there to boss around a back four that hasn’t played together much at all, if any minutes whatsoever, this season.)
- Also right as I typed that last bullet point out, Udinese actually put a shot on goal that Buffon had to save, so I’m just going to go ahead and focus on something else now.
- It was very nice to see my son Rodrigo Bentancur out on the field again. I have missed him during his three-game suspension in Serie A, one that has one final game to go this weekend.
- For as many weeks as Maurizio Sarri has said that Matthijs de Ligt is battling a shoulder issue and isn’t 100 percent healthy, the young Dutchman has looked pretty damn healthy in his last two appearances. One thing that has been different is that de Ligt has been playing on the right side of the central pairing rather than the left he did for the first four months of the season. That might not be the difference as to why things have looked so good the last two games, but it might be a contributing factor.
- I have spent a good number of words on Adrien Rabiot lately. And, as the nice fella that he seems to be, he is rewarding all of us with some really solid performances as of late. We kinda figured it would take him some time to get going again since he hadn’t played in a competitive game for so long, and I think now we’re starting to see that the rust is off and he’s starting to really settle in with some consistent playing time.
- MARKO PJACA!
- Good on the crowd at Allianz Stadium to give Pjaca a nice ovation as he came on for Dybala late in the second half. The kid — yes, he’s still just 24 years old — has been through so freakin’ much since Juventus signed him that he deserved the round of applause he got.
- Federico Bernardeschi playing as a mezalla ... more of that, please.
- How deep on the depth chart must Emre Can be if Bernardeschi is starting over him in a Coppa Italia match? Discuss.
- Juventus gets either Roma or Parma in the quarterfinals. Who you got?