Yiannis Bouranis writes about Juventus and Paulo Dybala, who are ready for their great battle with league leaders Napoli and Gonzalo Higuain, which will take place on Saturday night at Juventus Stadium.
In my previous article, I was writing about Gonzalo Higuain, who continues to be unstoppable, as he scored his 24th goal in 24 league appearances and is still on top of the scoring charts in Europe’s top five leagues this season, making the most productive season of his career.
At the same time, the “Partenopei” set a new franchise record, by earning their eight straight league victory (the previous one was in the season 1987-88, when they had won seven games in a row), as they seem capable of going all the way to the end and making history by claiming their first Serie A title since 1990.
However, they will need to overcome the defending champions Juventus in order to achieve this, as the “Bianconeri” have made an unbelievable come-back and can certainly be considered one of the favourites to finish first.
More specifically, although they had earned just 12 points in their first 10 games, they have won their last 14 games (setting a new club record) and are just two points behind Napoli (56 to 54).
In addition, they have kept seven consecutive clean sheets, with coach Max Allegri having created a decent team, both defensively and offensively.
Despite the departure of Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and the great Andrea Pirlo last summer, the Italian coach managed to overcome every problem he faced and created a younger and more balanced squad, which has turned things upside down in Serie A.
With Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, and Giorgio Chiellini helping the side retain its defensive stability, Allegri has seen Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba (along with Sami Khedira, Hernanes and Juan Cuadrado) offering the balance the club was lacking in the first matches of the season.
However, the player that has drastically enhanced his performance is Paulo Dybala. The 22-year-old Argentinian, despite making a mediocre start to the season, managed to reverse the situation and is currently one of the club’s leaders in its effort to win the Scudetto for a fifth straight time.
He has scored 13 goals and dished out 8 assists (mostly to Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata) so far, having been directly involved in 21 goals this season in Serie A.
Dybala plays better than last season (having scored three more goals than last year as well), acting both as a finisher and creator, as he tries to prove that Juventus’ decision to spend 32 million euros to sign him was the right one.
With that being said, both Dybala and Juventus have their sights set on this week’s fight against Napoli, with Allegri being happy with the extension of the club-record winning streak and confident that the “Bianconeri” will be ready for the upcoming clash.
“It’ll be a fine game, it certainly won’t decide the Scudetto, but we’ll be ready for it,” Allegri told Mediaset Premium. “We have important players that Napoli need to worry about.
“I can only compliment [Napoli coach] Maurizio Sarri, because he’s having a great campaign. It had been many years since Napoli were top of the table like this.”
At the end, the bout between Juventus and Napoli this Saturday night at Juventus Stadium is expected to be full of intensity and one of the most exciting games this season.
Who will prevail, though, and have the upper hand in the title race? Will it be the “Partenopei” and Gonzalo Higuain or the “Bianconeri” and Paulo Dybala? We will find out on Saturday night.