This past summer saw Juventus part ways with manager Andrea Pirlo and re-appoint Massimiliano Allegri at the helm. Although Pirlo led the club to Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana titles, Juventus were underwhelming in the Serie A, finishing fourth and leaving it to the final day of the season to book their place in the Champions League. The summer also saw the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been Juventus’ leading man in the attack for three consecutive seasons. Ronaldo’s consistent form in front of the goal meant that the club’s other attacking talent saw limited game time. Such was the case of Juventus’ Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala.
Many reports at the start of the season claimed that Allegri wanted Dybala to re-establish himself as Juventus’ main man in the attack after an injury-ridden previous season. Dybala was limited to 20 appearances in the Serie A last season, scoring four goals and laying three assists. This season he has already been involved in nine matches in Serie A, scoring three goals and adding a further three assists, a feat which shows Allegri’s continued faith in Dybala. Juventus’ league form has been underwhelming this season. They are currently placed at the 12th spot in Serie A with five wins, three draws, and four losses in 12 games. Dybala nonetheless has been brilliant. His performances in Serie A have awarded him with Juventus’ October Player of the Month award, despite missing out on the first two matches of the month. Even in the Champion’s league, although limited due to injuries, Dybala put up impressive performances in the two games that he was involved in.
Let’s dive into his stats from recent games in the Champions League to understand Dybala’s resurgence this season.
Dybala was excellent for Juventus in the recent Champions League group stage match against Zenit. He led the xG chart with an xG of 1.18 while also taking the highest number of shots and making the highest number of recoveries in the opponent’s half. In addition, he was highly threatening with his passes as well.
Dybala’s most impressive attribute is his control of the ball and his quick movements to fend off defenders. His vision and creativity allow him to accurately judge the timing to release the ball and pass it to his teammates. This season, Allegri has deployed him on the right side of the attack, along with Morata in a 4-4-2 formation. Dybala and Chiesa are the two most prominent creative outlets of Juventus this season. He ranks amongst the top in terms of passing and creativity stats in the Champions League despite playing fewer games than other attacking players. His most noteworthy stats are expected assists per 90, passes per 90 and smart passes per 90. He has also averaged more than seven forward passes per match.
His heat map further highlights that he has been most active on the right side of the attack. He is consistently active in the wide areas of the pitch and often drops near the centre to receive possession of the ball, dragging the defender out of his position in the process. He is also adept at taking advantage of the opposition player’s mistakes near the box and recovers most of his loose balls.
Although he has been involved in just two games, his xG of 2.14 places him in a respectable 12th spot in the Champions League, while his average xG of 1.14 puts him in the seventh spot, indicating that he has performed brilliantly in those games. He is a decent striker of the ball with his left foot and can dribble past the defenders in an instant.
Despite injuries being a constant occurrence in his career, Dybala has displayed his tremendous creative and attacking qualities for the Old Lady since making the move from Palermo. Dybala’s stats and performances from the recent games indicate that Allegri’s faith in him to lead the attacking line-up has been rewarded so far this season. Juventus fans would be hoping that Dybala signs a contract extension, with his deal expiring next summer.