Another one bites the dust.
Just days after Juventus fans have come to terms with the news that Paul Pogba will be out for seven weeks, missing both legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Monaco, another blow has been dealt with the news coming out from the Italy camp that Claudio Marchisio has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will be out for some time. His season is effectively over.
This loss is arguably even bigger than the loss of Pogba. Noted football pundit James Horncastle tweeted "Marchisio has been Juve’s most consistent midfielder this season. Best campaign since Conte’s first." Bianconeri legend Alessio Tacchinardi called Marchisio "irreplaceable", adding "He’s been playing more on the ball, playing further back in front of the defence and he’s been playing in a higher gear than [Arturo] Vidal." While he may not have been spectacular, Marchisio has been extremely effective, and his form (playing in front of defence in place of the injured Andrea Pirlo) in the games against Dortmund was a key facet in Juve's dominant performance in both legs.
So what does this mean for Juve for the rest of the season? Without Pogba and now Marchisio, one would expect that coach Max Allegri would revert to the 3-5-2 formation (or some variant of it). Given that we only have three fit central midfielders - Arturo Vidal, Roberto Pereyra and the returning Pirlo - he may not have any other choice. Stefano Sturaro could be an option to replace Marchisio, but he has not particularly impressed in his short stint thus far. With other midfielders Kwadwo Asamoah, Romulo and Luca Marrone all long term absentees, the Bianconeri are desperately short of numbers in the middle.
With key games in both the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in the coming weeks (as well as our remaining eleven league games), this is hardly the time to lose players to long term injuries - much less such key ones as Marchisio, Pogba and previously Martín Cáceres. While Juve has gotten Andrea Barzagli back to full fitness and looking as sharp as ever, these huge losses definitely negate any joy that his return would have caused.