Juventus have successfully mitigated an injury crisis in recent weeks to leave them in a good position on three fronts.
The Bianconeri remain unbeaten in Serie A since late November; they’re a game away from the Coppa Italia final, while Dusan Vlahovic’s record-breaking goal on his Champions League debut has left Juve in a favourable position to qualify into the quarter-finals at Villarreal’s expense.
The two sides meet in the all-important second leg at the Allianz Stadium next Wednesday, and Massimiliano Allegri is hopeful of having several big names back for the clash.
Before that, though, Juve must safely navigate through a potential banana skin Serie A fixture away at Sampdoria. Despite their unbeaten streak, the Bianconeri’s recent form has been patchy, especially from a performance perspective. But, Allegri’s poised to be bolstered by the returns of two players from injury this weekend.
Juventus seem to have mitigated the worst of injury woes with two players set to return against Sampdoria
Allegri sympathisers will claim that his distinct reactivity over the past few weeks has been forced upon him due to his side’s availability woes. The manager has often been without Paulo Dybala since Federico Chiesa tore his ACL in January, and these absences have, without question, inhibited Juve’s attacking performance.
Nevertheless, it appears that the worst of the Old Lady’s injury woes are behind them as we approach the final stretch of the 2021/22 campaign.
While Chiesa, Kaio Jorge and Weston McKennie are long-term absentees, several names on the injury list are poised to return soon. Full-backs Mattia De Sciglio and Alex Sandro have made Saturday’s matchday squad for the trip to the Luigi Ferraris.
In his pre-match press conference for Saturday’s game, Allegri said he was hopeful that he’d have Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Dybala available for the second leg against Villarreal. He was particularly confident over the availability of Chiellini, who’s been out for a month with another calf injury, saying that he should return on Sunday.
The manager, though, will be concerned over his midfield ahead of the March international break. Denis Zakaria is still sidelined and it remains unknown when he’ll make his comeback. Allegri was initially hopeful of having the Swiss midfielder available for next Wednesday’s second leg.
With Zakaria still out and Juve only having three fit senior midfielders, teenager Fabio Miretti has earned a call-up to Saturday’s matchday squad.