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Juventus vs. Monaco, Leg 1: You choose Max Allegri's starting lineup

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If you were wondering where the selection dilemma was, Max Allegri took care of that at his pre-match press conference on Monday. He essentially served as the guy who took the mystery out of something you were waiting to happen. Maybe not complete party pooper status, but still taking the suspense out of what can be an interesting debate any time a squad selection discussion takes place.

First, this is what Allegri had to say when asked about a couple of Andreas. (And no, it has nothing to do with one Andrea being jealous about the other one.)

"It's unlikely you'll see both Pirlo and Barzagli in the same line-up. Pirlo hasn't played for 45 days and Barzagli's just returned from his minor setback. I'll need to decide my line-up following tomorrow morning's final training session. In any case the lads are all in good physical shape and finding the right motivation or strength is never an issue when playing such games."


Pirlo or Barzagli? Central midfielder extraordinaire or central defender extraordinaire? So, so difficult to choose.

Or is it really?

I said it in the match preview and I will say it again: Allegri has essentially created the ultimate either/or proposition when it comes to how plays and subsequently which formation he uses. Going Pirlo in the starting lineup, something that pretty much every Italian media outlet is predicting in the build-up to Tuesday night's match, means a 4-3-1-2. Utilizing Barzagli is a direct indication that Allegri wants to go with three at the back like he has done lately when all three of the BBC Connection has been healthy.

The money is on Pirlo it will provide Juve with some semblance of a near-full-strength midfield — something they haven't been able to say a lot of ever since both Pirlo and Paul Pogba got hurt in the round of 16 ties against Borussia Dortmund.

This is the only real squad decision Allegri has to make. We know Carlos Tévez and Álvaro Morata will be the starting strikers. Claudio Marchisio will start, so will Arturo Vidal. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Patrice Evra will be the fullbacks (or wingbacks if Barzagli plays). Lest we forget that Gigi Buffon will wear the captain's armband and start in goal.

All of that is figured out and known. The vast, vast, vast majority of Juventus' starting lineup can be figured out in about 20 seconds or so because it's that easy.

And yet, the grand question: Which Andrea do you prefer, Pirlo or Barzagli?

Only one Andrea will move on and survive! (Just kidding. They're both quite good.)