Wednesday October 3 2018
Dybala gives Allegri a headache

Paulo Dybala found top form for Juventus last night, and Gaby McKay says that provides a welcome headache for Massimiliano Allegri.

It’s an odd situation where one of his brightest talents scoring a hat-trick in a Champions League game could present an issue for a Coach, but arguably that’s exactly the situation in which Juventus boss Massimiiano Allegri finds himself.

Last night against Young Boys Paulo Dybala, the darling of the Turin crowd and heir apparent to Alessandro Del Piero, finally sparked his season into life with a fine hat-trick in a comfortable 3-0 win.

While the goals did not come against the most illustrious of opponents, La Joya offered a timely reminder of what makes him such an exciting player, one who drew comparisons to Lionel Messi in the early months of last season.

Dybala’s first was a thing of beauty, a long raking pass by Leonardo Bonucci finished with the most controlled of volleys, more of a golf shot than a full-blooded strike. His second showed the Argentine’s ability to drive from deep, as well as his goalscoring instinct to gobble up the rebound from Blaise Matuidi’s shot.

By the time the third went in the match resembled little more than the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals, but it was nonetheless a fine team goal which Dybala was once again in the right place to convert.

All positive then, one would think, but the 24-year-old’s performance wasn’t so much overshadowed by the elephant in the room as the superstar in the stands: there’s no getting away from the fact that Dybala’s best performance of the season came as Cristiano Ronaldo watched on, suspended.

The Portuguese was bought to take Juve to the next level both in the Champions League and off the pitch, his global brand intended to bring huge commercial revenues to the Old Lady and help her to catch up to Europe’s richest clubs.

CR7 immediately became the club’s highest earner, and it was a show of faith in Dybala that it was Gonzalo Higuain and not he who was sacrificed to make way for the Ballon d’Or. It was a sign that the Bianconeri hierarchy viewed La Joya as a superstar-in-waiting, a player who could one day attain the status on and off the pitch that his new teammate enjoys.

And yet the Argentine has started the season slowly, seemingly unable to find his best form in this new Juventus. When Allegri played with a 4-2-3-1 with Dybala as the trequartista the side looked unbalanced, Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic unable to provide the physicality in midfield that the formation required. The Bianconeri looked far more comfortable in a 4-3-3, but Dybala has never looked comfortable out wide. He may like to drift out to the flanks, but shackling him to the wing takes Dybala away from the heart of the action.

It cannot be a coincidence that his best performance of the season came playing as a second striker in a 3-5-2, with La Joya given licence to buzz around Mario Mandzukic, probing for space wherever it may arise. He collected it deep, taking 73 touches in total and many of them wide on the right, allowing him to surge inside on his favoured left foot. With five shots on target and seven in total, he could even have scored more.

Allegri, it seems, has been presented with a bit of a headache: how can he get the best out of both Ronaldo and Dybala, while also accommodating Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic and Federico Bernardeschi?

The Tuscan Coach has switched formation for the second half of each of his four previous seasons, playing 3-5-2, 4-4-2 diamond, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 throughout his tenure. On the evidence so far a front-two works for Dybala, but Ronaldo needs a front-three.

It’s a nice problem for any Coach to have, and Allegri has shown that he knows how to adapt his formation to his players. Last night proved he may once again have to go back to the tactics board.

Have your say...
The best Serie A midfielder!
on the 5th December, 2018 at 10:44am
This is Dybala's last season in Juve. Such a player should not remain substitute. He'll probably move to Real Madrid...
on the 8th October, 2018 at 11:57am
Kean needs to go out on loan in January. To a lower serie a team or to france. He needs game time. He is a top talent that needs minutes. I think Juve are holding him back. Our young players needs minutes and if that means going abroad on loan so be it. The main thing is they are playing if that mean france or Holland or germany then so be it.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 9:56am
Another option is 4-3-2-1. The three in midfield being Can as holding mid(though he can be a reckless tackler and careless positioning), pjanic pushed a bit forward to provide for creavitivy and Matuidi being the enforcer. Dybala and Ronaldo can be the 2 and Mandzukic up front alone. Dybala has to be quick to rush back to help midfield went we lose possession on either midfield flank depending on how the midfield 3 are positioned.Ronaldo and Mandzukic can switch positions regularly.
on the 5th October, 2018 at 7:07pm
@Nono_Totti. I agree with you in that Dybala has to be closer to goal to cause damage. He is not a playmaker. Bernardeschi seems to be a better play maker. We should try a 4-3-3 when resting Ronaldo with Super Mario as LWF and dybala as false 9 and Bernadeschi as RWF. We can try 4-3-1-2 with bernadeschi in the hole and Dybala and Ronaldo/Mandzukic upfront.
on the 5th October, 2018 at 6:45pm
@Ade... please just let people be, say what they want, rather than try to make yourself out to be an authority on football. On another blog it was about the quality of the EPL over Italian football, well Napoli dominated Liverpool, inter beat spurs, and Italy just went ahead in the coefficients, like many you are told EPL is best so you repeat it, its richest maybe, but not the best league.
on the 4th October, 2018 at 12:01pm
Have you learned nothing about Allegri? Cuadrado will always be an option. You can moan about it all you want but he has Allegri's backing.

Right now, Mandzukic is top of the pecking order, which makes it a damn shame to have to bench the other 3 (Costa is not just a rotation piece. He's that good). Unless Allegri goes back to 4 forwards (which puts Cuadrado higher for defensive balance) or Berna becomes more of a midfielder, it's a headache choosing who starts.
on the 4th October, 2018 at 9:40am
@ade I read your comments and I am completely lost. u really are clueless about football. Dybala should play before Ronaldo because he isyounger. what madness.CR7 is the best player in the world even at 33.juve wants to win the CL you think they care about Dybala transfer value. smh.whether you call it formation or gameplay.fact is Dybala cant play out on the wing.that is why he has done well in the 4231,352,442 formations. allegri will figure it out.perhaps a 4312 with Berna behind Dybala & CR7
on the 4th October, 2018 at 7:22am
Agree with Pinturicchio
on the 4th October, 2018 at 6:42am
I guess the strikers have to take turns. Everyone needs to play 50 percent of the time - at least.
on the 4th October, 2018 at 6:41am
He was not fit. That's why he couldn't beat his marker when playing as a winger in 4-3-3 formation. Can he play with that role? The answer is YES(he's fully fit now). But IMO he is best deployed as a second striker. Can he play with Ronaldo? The answer is YES because their skills complement each other. But why Allegri never put them together exclusively up front? The answer is all forwards have been great so far and Allegri is doing every great coach can do: put the best players on the pitch.
on the 4th October, 2018 at 6:31am
@Arrivederci, Beppe

That was very tunnel-minded outlook towards Juventus' attacking front.

CR7 should be a starter insofar that he scores but also provides (like he did versus Napoli). Bernardeschi is proving he belongs at Juventus, his progress has been exponentially positive. And Douglas Costa is a great option off-the-bench against tired legs. Cuadrado is a NOTHING player, doesn't add to attack, doesn't know squat about defending, always the FLOP of the match.

Play on form, please...
on the 4th October, 2018 at 4:45am
ade, don't question anyone after convulsing confusingly across the page.
the article is about exquisite headaches - comment to elevate, not to pollute the atmosphere of intelligent debate
on the 4th October, 2018 at 1:35am
I want what's best for Paulo. As our #10, I'd prefer he stays, but if he's better off without Ronaldo then he can go to a different team. I don't believe it tbh, Madrid's form after losing Ronaldo should put to bed any thoughts that he steals goals from other players. Besides which he was the most involved in all 3 goals against Napoli and could've scored a couple on his own.

Ronaldo is set, so it's between Dybala, Mandzukic, Costa and Bernardeschi. Cuadrado also a silent option.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 9:02pm
Can't understand why certain Italian teams play 4-3-3, especially ROMA and juventus and even the azzurri. the personal suits different, Juventus look far more fluid last night with one playing behind two forwards. think Ronaldo being that free player! Bernardeschi playing on the right of the midfield with dybala and mandzukic up top. that's a seriously strong line up.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 5:10pm
Allegri knows best, his past seasons results speak for themselves.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 5:02pm
That being said, Juve was one of the most fluid teams when it comes to switching formations, in-game even. I like THEIR version of 3 at the back because when THEY do it, the wing play is great to look at. When THEY play 4 at the back, they look quite solid, impenetrable. That's something to admire about this Juve squad. The other issue with CR7 is that i get the feeling when Dybala (usually) starts to fade later on in the season that is when CR7 will become important.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 4:55pm
What is this obsession with fans and formations. We havent had enough games to view how the team plays in the formations mentioned in the article to get a real understanding of how well the personnel suits which formation.This mainly stems from how CR7 gets integrated into each of those formations more than anything.This is not PES or FIFA 18/19. Sorry guys. Formations dont win trophies, it's gameplay and tactics. If formations do then everyone should play 433 like Barca right? easy peasy right?
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 4:48pm
@Ade - Dybala is actually 24 years old, not 27
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 4:00pm
i agree with what 'serie a lover' says. dybala struggles in a 433. cant see allegri subbing out mandzukic in a big c.league game so I hardly expect dybala to play as a false 9. if we are playing Bayern or psg in a cleague game it isn't time to experiment. its a 433 with Ronaldo-mandzukic-bernadeshi/costa. in serie a 4231 should be played,both Ronaldo and dybala can be good in that formation. to 'ade'. Ronaldo at 33 is proven. I doubt juve mgmt is worried about transfer value. they want the CL
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 2:38pm
@Ade -- Dybala is 24, still awfully young to carry a team on his shoulders like Ronaldo can do.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 2:16pm
@serie A lover
really! Do you really understand the mechanics of football? You want Dybala of 27 out for an ageing Ronaldo of 33? So his price tag depreciate and his growth process dwindle?...Juve should go all gong and exposed the balance of the team which is the midfield?..... I bet football fantasy has made you lost what the art of the game is all about....perhaps too much Fifa 2018 n Pes has taken its toll on you......its very much easier said than done and the best manager are the spectators....Even Madrid winning an unprecedented CL three years running never dared that!.....pls watch football with common sense
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 1:26pm
I like the idea of Dybala as a false 9 also, or up top where he can hurt teams... he did real damage a few seasons ago as a striker but now spends most of his time in midfield... with his left foot and eye for goal he NEEDS to be around the box when receiving the ball imo
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 1:05pm
Play Dybala as a false nine in a 4-3-3. He can fall back to allow Ronaldo, and Bernardeschi to go up front. Or he can run behind the defense looking for a through ball. I hope Allegri at lest try Dybala in that position.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 12:00pm
I simply don't know why juve doesn't play a 4231 in serie a. unless u playin Napoli,inter, roma or something. no team really juve should be showing that much respect for. Dybala and Ronaldo fits into that formation. plus juve has soo many attackers kean, Ronaldo, bernadeshi, Dybala, cuadrado, costa, mandzukic. juve is short in midfield with marchisio leaving. to me the 352 or 4231 is a risk to play in the cleague. 433 is the best formation. if Dybala has to miss out so be it.
on the 3rd October, 2018 at 11:41am

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