For months and months, we discussed what Juventus need to do to strengthen its squad for the simple reason of competing on three fronts. It's a big reason why the likes of Kwadwo Asamoah, Mauricio Isla, Paul Pogba, and so on and so were brought into a squad that already had a bunch of talent this summer.
Although I'm sure said names being pretty good at what they do had to do something with why Beppe Marotta snatched them up from their former teams, improving the depth of the squad was one of the biggest priorities of the post-Scudetto celebrations. There's that other thing about signing a top-flight prima punta, but I won't get into that right now. I'm sure that you can find a few things about it around these parts.
Now that the first of a number of international breaks is behind, two of those fronts — Serie A and the Champions League — are staring Juventus right in the face. The fixtures aren't just picking up steam and coming at us in a more frequent fashion, they're leaving minimal time for rest — especially those whose international break didn't really consist of any kind of break at all.
First, I would like to list something. This might look a little familiar to all you folks out there.
- Sept. 16 — away to Genoa
- Sept. 19 — away to Chelsea
- Sept. 22 — home against Chievo
- Sept. 25 — away to Fiorentina
- Sept. 29 — home against Roma
- Oct. 2 — home against Shakhtar Donetsk
- Oct. 7 — away to Siena
That's seven games in a three-week span, ladies and gentlemen. That's a whole hell of a lot to deal with — and this is coming off the back of an international break where a good chunk of the squad was on duty with their national teams, most notably the ItalJuve group.
The reason I list these games is to point out one thing: Juventus' upcoming schedule is no shoe-in.
Obviously the two Champions League fixtures against the two other top teams are the elephant in the room. It is the Champions League after all. However, when it comes to the domestic slate of games, these aren't just fixtures where you can pencil in all the subs to see significant minutes, right? There's Fiorentina. There's Roma. Sure, you could say that Chievo is a team where Juve can rests some regulars. But Chievo is also a team that has also been an extremely tricky one the last couple of seasons.
So what do you do? Get the rotation going or play em more often than not?
Reports surfaced earlier in the day on Friday that Antonio Conte is going to rest some of the regulars against Genoa. And, to be honest, I don't have much of a problem with it. If Juve are planning on having some important pieces to the puzzle rested for Chelsea, then I'm all for it.
I mean, I'm not at training on a regular basis so I don't know, for a fact, how the players are feeling physically. If I was there, I'd probably tell Andrea Pirlo how beautiful his beard is. But the reality is that I'm just sitting her thousands of miles away blogging about Juventus. I don't know what kind of conditions their bodies are in.
While the Euros this pas summer showed that rested Pirlo is better than a Pirlo who has played three games in a little more than a week, I'll side with the decisions of Conte and his coaching staff a lot of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if Pirlo gets some kind of rest over the next couple of weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if just about every starter, outside of maybe Gigi Buffon, get some kind of rest.
Either way, this stretch will be the first test to see what Conte has planned when it comes to squad rotation.
And like just about everything else, "In Conte We Trust."