The time has arrived for Juventus’ collective resolution to be tested at the highest level, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men hosting Chelsea at the Allianz Stadium in their next group stage match of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
While Juventus will be facing one of the toughest opponents that they could expect to face this season on the back of a league victory against Sampdoria, Allegri will be missing two of his glowing gems in Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala for the pivotal fixture. Both picked up muscle injuries during Sunday’s 3-2 triumph.
They could return to action following the conclusion of the forthcoming international break in October, with both injuries being considered minor. Nevertheless, their absences are burdens Allegri wouldn’t like to carry on his shoulders for much longer.
He must find an answer to facilitate Juventus’ utmost potential without being affected too much by the ongoing injuries woes. Henceforth, let us take a look at three possible ways Bianconeri could line up without two of their most prominent assets.
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3. Juventus could go with three men at the back in 3-5-2
Allegri has already hinted that he is never far from making minor yet effective tweaks in his tactics and team structure, putting a three-man defence into application several times this season. If so, who could be the three to make the Italian gaffer’s defence line?
Owing to the shortage supported by a mind-boggling departure of Merih Demiral in the summer transfer window, Juventus don’t have many choices but to start Matthijs de Ligt, Leonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chiellini in the defence. Fortunately for the Bianconeri, the triumvirate is safe are and fit to go.
In the midfield, there could be the high-flying Manuel Locatelli and an unpredictable Rodrigo Bentancur, with the likes of Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado providing the width down the flanks while being much more advanced than what their usual full-back roles demand. Then, there could be Moise Kean and Dejan Kulusevski, Kean and Federico Chiesa, or Kean and Federico Bernardeschi up top.
Each pairing, where the presence of Kean (as he is the only centre-forward available for Juve at the moment) is constant, offers something different. With Chiesa, Allegri could utilise his flashy pace to penetrate a well-oiled Chelsea defence, who themselves are likely to form a three-man rearguard.
On the other hand, Bernardeschi and Kulusevski are keen-witted customers and could provide Juventus with a left-footed outlet that the club might be missing in case they chose to land the tandem of Chiesa and Kean. The right-foot, left-foot combination in Juventus’ offence could be imperative at the end of the day.