• Analysis

Is Paulo Dybala back to his old self for Juventus?

Paulo Dybala, Juventus,
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After a summer of uncertainty, Paulo Dybala seems to have got his Juventus career back on track following Sunday’s match-winner against AC Milan.

Dybala enjoyed arguably one of his finest performances of the season to grab a vital winner over AC Milan. It allowed Juventus to leapfrog rivals Inter Milan back into top spot in the Serie A standings.

The 25-year-old was a breath of fresh air in the Bianconeri attack after coming on for a struggling Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a knee problem, during the final 35 minutes of the match.

His movements caused the Milan defence all sorts of problems in Turin, and he made 32 touches of the ball. Interestedly, fellow forward Gonzalo Higuain only managed nine more in comparison despite playing the full match.

Nevertheless, the duo managed a nice bit of interplay in the build-up to Dybala’s right-footed winner in the 77th-minute.

The strike bailed out a lacklustre Juventus, and took Dybala’s tally up to five goals in 14 appearances this season.

Sarri bringing out the best of La Joya

paulo dybala, maurizio sarri, juventus
TURIN, ITALY – OCTOBER 01: (L) Head Coach of FC Juventus Maurizio Sarri speaks with Paulo Dybala of FC Juventus during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen at Juventus Arena on October 1, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Without doubt, Dybala endured his worst campaign in a Bianconeri jersey last season. He struggled to fit into Massimiliano Allegri’s new system following the €112m club-record arrival of Ronaldo.

His performances dropped off over in Turin, with just five goals in 30 Serie A appearances. Therefore, Juventus were allegedly willing to offload him in the summer as part of a trade deal for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain were also in the running.

But Dybala stood his ground and made it clear he wished to remain at Juventus on multiple occasions.

And the Argentine eventually got his way, with Lukaku ending up at Inter instead. While Spurs failed at a last-ditch attempt to sign him, and PSG didn’t pursue their interest after signing Mauro Icardi on loan.

Now, with the transfer drama behind him, Dybala has managed to win favour with new head coach Maurizio Sarri.

While five goals isn’t much to brag about, the Italian has won plaudits for the way he’s managed to exploit the attacker’s creativity during games. This, along with his pace and superb touches, has enabled Dybala to become a key figure once again.

Confidence on the rise

Paulo Dybala, Juventus
TURIN, ITALY – NOVEMBER 10: Paulo Dybala of Juventus scores the winning goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and AC Milan at Allianz Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

There’s no question that Dybala suffered a crisis of confidence last season as his performance levels plummeted.

Fast forward to this term, though, he seems to finally be getting back to his old self after winning over Sarri.

And he took delight in his match-winner on Sunday, which came from his right foot.

“I think it was important for everyone to win, regardless of who scored. It wasn’t our best performance, but we have to win by any means for our primary objective, which is the Scudetto,” Dybala told Sky Sport Italia.

“Milan have not started well this season, but they are still Milan. It’s a great team with quality players who can cause problems and Szczesny did really well today.

“Nobody expects me to score with my right foot! That’s where the ball landed and I had to take it with my right, fortunately, it went well.

“It might look now as if either Inter or Juventus will win the Scudetto, but there’s a long way to go yet.”