Juventus’ gem Paulo Dybala has started the new season in frustrating fashion leaving many to wonder what exactly has gone wrong with the Argentine international.
With Paul Pogba’s departure to Manchester United and Claudio Marchisio’s injury, Paulo Dybala was always going to have to play a key role in this new-look Juventus side. Despite some moments of creative brilliance in the final third, the former Palermo man is yet to find the back of the net and is looking a player without confidence. To be fair to him, Dybala has registered two assists and has always looked dangerous when in possession. That said, his poor form in front of goal has had a negative effect on his game as, at times, he is trying to do too much. But why is this the case? Let’s have a look.
For one, the bianconeri’s midfield isn’t as strong as it has been in recent years. In his first season with the club, Dybala was playing ahead of Pogba, Marchisio and Khedira while playing alongside an unselfish partner in Mario Mandzukic. However, he now finds himself regularly partnered with Gonzalo Higuain, a striker who demands the ball and with a weaker midfield. As a result, Massimiliano Allegri has asked him to drop deeper in the midfield to create chances. Logic would suggest that the further away you are from goal, the less likely you are to score. This is currently happening with Dybala at Juve.
In addition, the 22-year-old is sliding over to the right hand side often linking up with Dani Alves and the right centre midfielder. Again, this is moving him away from a more central position lessening his chances to find the back of the net. While it has harmed his goalscoring output, Dybala has never created more chances than he is now.
In his six appearances in all competitions, the Juventus man has averaged 2.7 key passes per game and is mustering an average of 2.2 successful dribbles per ninety minutes. For a guy who hasn’t found the back of the net, these numbers are impressive as he’s still contributing to the attack and beating his marker. As his chemistry with Higuain continues to blossom and Marchisio edges closer to his return to the fold, the goals will come for Dybala. With games coming up against Dinamo Zagreb, Empoli and Udinese over the following weeks, la Joya will have numerous opportunities to find the back of the net. When asked about his goalscoring drought, Dybala put it very simply.
“On a personal level, I started last season better so maybe I’m lacking a little confidence in front of goal. But I always try to make my contribution in other ways, running more for my teammates or winning balls back in defensive areas.” Source: (ESPN Argentina)
In his first season with the club, Dybala started in fantastic fashion notching a goal on his competitive debut against Lazio in the Supercoppa. The striker would then go on to add a further 2 goals over his next three games, ensuring he started his Juventus career in the best possible fashion. Given how his career has gone, especially with Juve, this rough patch is unchartered territory for Dybala. It will undoubtedly take time for him to adjust to this dry spell in front of goal. Moreover, it would be foolish to downplay how the changes in midfield and attack have affected his game. Moving forward, however, this shouldn’t be a problem for Dybala. At the moment, he’s doing everything right other than the final product. With a manager like Allegri by his side, Dybala will stay the course and the goals will come. And once the goals come, it’s likely they won’t stop.
For more of my ramblings, you can find me on Twitter @GCaltabanis. For more on Dybala-Juve, listen in at 3:40 until 5:11. If you’re interested for more general Serie A talk including some Icardi debate, some love for Serie A’s hipster side Sassuolo, Napoli as potential title contenders and questioning Fiorentina’s summer among other things, listen in from the start until 13:17. Enjoy!