Juventus: Which absence has loomed the largest?

Juventus fans are likely disappointed with some of the recent results and the team’s position in the Serie A table. After a 2-1 loss to Porto in the Champions League, Juve decimated 20th-placed Crotone, but then they walked right into the Hellas Verona trap this weekend, drawing 1-1.

It is important for Juventini to remember that Andrea Pirlo is not working with a full deck. The Bianconeri have been ravaged by injuries. Paulo Dybala remains a long-term absence, which has profoundly hurt this side. Arthur Melo and Juan Cuadrado are vital starters and are injured. Danilo was suspended against Verona for picking up too many yellow cards. And the veteran center back duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci has been injured, too. Alvaro Morata needs rest in order to recover from cytomegalovirus.

Every single one of these injuries has impacted Juventus negatively in some significant way, but the injuries to Arthur and Cuadrado stand out above the rest. In particular, Arthur’s, looking at the manner of the recent struggles.

Dybala is the most talented player on the list of injuries, but, as sad as it is to say, the Bianconeri have gotten used to not having him. He is crucial to Juve being an elite team, but they can still be good without Dybala.

Without Arthur, Juventus have been tough to watch in midfield

On the other hand, Juve are in dire straits without Cuadrado and Arthur. The former can be mitigated by Federico Chiesa’s brilliance on the right-hand side, but then the left side becomes a huge problem spot for Juve. Aaron Ramsey and Weston McKennie do not have the pace to play out wide, while Federico Bernardeschi simply isn’t playing at a starting-caliber level.

So not having Cuadrado, who has 10 assists this season, hurts badly.

But not having Arthur? That has turned Juventus’ midfield into a disaster zone.

Look at what happened against Porto and Verona. Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot could not keep a hold of the ball and play out of the back. They could barely even progress the ball. Without Arthur’s classy dribbling, vision for the pass, and ball-carrying out of the back, Juventus have been a comedy of errors and incompetence in their build-up play. Rabiot and Bentancur are a disaster together, because it seems as if both players cannot have a solid, productive, forward-thinking game at the same time. Individually, they are not bad players. Together? We are left screaming at the television.

As for McKennie and Ramsey, they do not enter the equation here. McKennie is a nice complementary player, but he does not have the technical quality that Juventus need in terms of being a “point guard” who can dictate play. Ramsey is more of an attacking midfielder, and he is just too inconsistent to trust.

Arthur is the model of consistency and was in peak form before his injury. He contributes defensively, dribbles circles around the defense, and passes frequently and accurately. When he is absent from the lineup, Juventus suffers mightily – and even more than we have thought.

Each injury affects Juve. Bonucci’s passing and experience are missed. Morata’s link-up play is vital. Cuadrado’s absence leaves a massive void in the team’s overall quality. But without Arthur, this midfield is shambolic and incapable of comfortably matching up against any competent side.