Paulo Dybala, perhaps unsurprisingly, made an instant impact in his first season as a Roma player.
The former Juventus forward’s goal contributions frequently changed the outcomes of games for Roma, who benefitted from his inspired technique and creativity.
Here is a recap of every time Dybala’s goals or assists ensured Roma earn a more positive result than they would have got without.
27/8 – Assist to claim draw v Juventus
Just three games into his Roma career, Dybala was up against his previous club, Juventus. Roma had been trailing since the second minute due to a Dusan Vlahovic goal, but Dybala set up Tammy Abraham in the 69th minute for an equaliser. La Joya volleyed the ball into the danger area after a deep corner, allowing Abraham to gain a point for the Giallorossi.
12/9 – Goal and assist in 2-1 win v Empoli
Dybala’s first two goals for Roma followed against Monza, but since that was a 3-0 win and the outcome would have been the same, they don’t apply here. Instead, let’s fast forward to a 2-1 win over Empoli, in which Dybala put Roma ahead in the 17th minute with a stunner into the top corner from the edge of the box, only for the hosts to equalise before the break. Thankfully, Roma’s number 21 was on hand to assist Abraham again (with a cross to the far post) for the winner in the second half.
1/10 – Equaliser before 2-1 win v Inter
The Empoli game was the first of a five-match streak of Dybala scoring. Midway through came a volleyed goal against Inter, which was an equaliser nine minutes after the opener. Having cancelled the deficit for his side, Dybala later saw his colleagues do the business to secure a 2-1 win, upgrading the result again.
9/10 – Winning penalty v Lecce
The following weekend, Roma had been pegged back by 10-man Lecce by half time, only for Dybala to hold his nerve when scoring the winning penalty early in the second half.
12/1 – Winner v Genoa
After becoming a World Cup winner with Argentina in December, Dybala’s first goal of 2023 was the only one in a Coppa Italia win over Genoa. Dribbling past several opponents before finishing from a wide angle, the substitute sent his side to the next round (where their journey in the competition would unfortunately end).
15/1 – Brace to beat Fiorentina
Three days later, Dybala was once again the only goalscorer in a 2-0 league win over Fiorentina. Set up both times by Abraham, his goals came within the final 10 minutes of each half. The first was a volley from the edge of the box (aided by a slight deflection) and the second was a first-time finish at the end of an expansive move.
22/1 – Two assists to beat Spezia
The following week, it was time for Dybala to return the favour. Roma’s next 2-0 win was against Spezia, in which the ex-Palermo star assisted both goals rather than scoring them. Stephan El Shaarawy and Abraham were the ones to benefit, after a one-two with the former and an interception and short pass for the latter (who admittedly proceeded to do most of the work in this instance).
4/2 – Two assists to beat Empoli
For Roma’s first league match of February, there was another double Dybala assist in a 2-0 win. Each assist came inside the first six minutes, with Roger Ibanez and Abraham getting the goals after two good Dybala deliveries from corners.
11/2 – Penalty to draw with Lecce
A week later, Dybala then had to cancel out an Ibanez error after the defender’s own goal had put Roma behind against Lecce. A penalty 10 minutes later gave Roma the chance to get back in the game and Dybala made no mistake from the spot, although the Lupi couldn’t kick on to convert one point into three.
8/4 – Penalty to beat Torino
Dybala got his name on the scoresheet a few more times in more comfortable results in the weeks that followed. His next game-changing goal was another penalty in April, which allowed Roma to beat Torino 1-0.
20/4 – Winner against Feyenoord in normal time
One of Roma’s most dramatic games of the season was against European foes Feyenoord. After losing the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, Roma looked to have taken the game to extra time with a 1-0 scoreline until Feyenoord equalised late on. Thankfully, a moment of inspiration from Dybala – with a clever turn and determined strike – made it a 2-1 win in normal time, which took the tie to extra time, where Jose Mourinho’s side went on to qualify for the next round.
4/6 – Penalty to beat SpeziaEmbed from Getty Images
It had to be him, didn’t it? In Roma’s final game of the campaign, Europa League qualification was on the line. A penalty awarded to Roma late in the game was taken by Dybala, who subsequently scored the goal that ensured his new club finished sixth, above his former side Juventus. Showing immense physical and mental strength to last the full game after some fitness concerns, it was fitting for Roma’s main source of goals to score what was arguably their most important of the season. Without Dybala, Roma wouldn’t have reached the Europa League again on that night; and over the course of the season, it could have been an entirely different story.