When Juventus took the field the first two games of the 2015-16 Serie A season, it's safe to say that their roster wasn't exactly full strength. Injuries had pretty much taken away any kind of depth Juve's new-look squad had, and many of those new faces hadn't yet either played much at all or made much of an impact to really make a difference.
Ah, but there's a difference two weeks later. A good kind of difference, too.
Injuries are starting to go away, those players who were signed in the summer to fill needs and now Max Allegri has probably reached a point where he can let them loose and truly see how they fit into the Juventus puzzle going forward. Yes, that season is only two games deep, but compare Juventus' roster from then to the one that is here now.
Hey, there's an actual trequartista around now!
And, look! There's actually depth in the center of the midfield again!
Healthy defenders! Amazing!
This is madness. Good things are happening on paper. See, things are already getting better around these parts and they haven't even stepped onto the Juventus Stadium field yet.
But now the question is, what is Allegri going to do with all these options?
We know Claudio Marchisio is back in the starting lineup today against Chievo because Allegri has told us so. We know that means no Simone Padoin starting as a holding midfielder and, in turn, Juventus' midfield looking a whole lot better than it did two weeks ago in Rome. Let's see if Allegri has another other answers for us...
.@OfficialAllegri: "In defence tomorrow night, I'm looking at putting in @andreabarzagli2 and Alex Sandro from the start." #JuveChievo— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 11, 2015
Okay, so we basically knew that Alex Sandro part already seeing as Patrice Evra is suspended after being sent off against Roma two weekends ago. But having Barzagli in the mix, well, that's a little bit of a surprise considering Giorgio Chiellini is fit and has essentially played just about every time he has been fit under Allegri.
Who knows how much having Barzagli is there to help Alex Sandro acclimate to the Juventus defense. I'm sure there's something to it considering Giorgio Chiellini has a knack for being a wild and crazy guy in defense from time to time.
These are the things that Allegri can do with a (almost) healthy squad at his disposal. As much as we would probably want him to keep a relatively constant starting lineup during these times where the games are important even though it's September and October, he can tinker and rotate to keep those vitally important players fresh when the opportunity knocks. He was quick to point out just how many days are in between games these days with the Champions League starting up midweek. (THE CHAMPIOOOOOONS!!!)
Or maybe Max will just go with a 3-5-2 because he loves rage on the internet. Wouldn't that be interesting.
(Warning: We here at BWRAO don't truly know if Max Allegri likes internet rage and haven't checked his Twitter mentions much at all lately. So if he doesn't like seeing his account get blown up with complaints about his starting lineup, we still need confirmation of it.)
Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Alex Sandro; Roberto Pereyra, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba; Hernanes; Paul Dybala, Álvaro Morata
Chievo XI (4-3-1-2): Albano Bizzarri; Nicolas Frey, Alessandro Gamberini, Boštjan Cesar, Massimo Gobbi; Lucas Castro, Nicola Rigoni, Përparim Hetemaj; Valter Birsa; Alberto Paloschi, Riccardo Meggiorini