Another name was added to Juventus’ lengthy injury list on Saturday as Denis Zakaria was forced off early on in the 3-2 victory over Empoli.
Dusan Vlahovic once against stole the show as his smartly-taken brace helped Bianconeri to an important three points on the road. Their advantage over fifth-placed Atalanta is now six points and they’ve reduced the gap on league leaders AC Milan to seven points after the Rossoneri drew with Udinese on Friday evening.
However, it appears that Massimiliano Allegri will have to battle through the next couple of weeks with just three senior midfield options available.
Denis Zakaria could be sidelined for two weeks with a thigh injury
Zakaria could have added to his Juventus goal haul before he was forced off in the 37th minute but his effort was saved by Guglielmo Vicario in the opening exchanges. The bursting Swiss midfielder had been found in behind the Empoli defence by the majestic Vlahovic.
Manuel Locatelli was his able replacement in Tuscany which meant we caught a rare glimpse of an Arthur and Locatelli midfield.
"“Zakaria played well, he came close to scoring again, then, unfortunately, he had this injury, but we have to work with those we have without thinking about those we don’t have. Now on Wednesday, we have the semi-final, it’s a good challenge, fun, to play,” said Allegri."
Nevertheless, La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Giovanni Albanese reported post-match that Zakaria could be out for the next two weeks with a thigh injury. That would see him miss Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg tie against Fiorentina as well as next Sunday’s Serie A clash at home to Spezia.
If Albanese’s initial diagnosis is accurate, the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder could return for the second leg against Villarreal on 16 March.
For the time being, however, Allegri’s senior midfield options are limited to Locatelli, Arthur and Adrien Rabiot. Talented teenager Fabio Miretti will surely be a fixture in the matchday squads for the next couple of weeks.