Outside of Juventus dropping points at nearly every turn so far this season, the most consistent thing we've seen from the four-time defending Serie A champions is the fact that injuries are happening all around us. Pulled hamstring here, quad muscle strain there. It's been a relatively routine task to read about somebody dealing with something in the hours following a Juventus match.
Álvaro Morata has been one of those players who has felt the early-season wrath of the injury bug. There was the preseason injury, then the early-game substitution against Genoa last weekend. It hasn't been a season with any kind of luck for Juventus, and that's certainly the case for Morata as well.
But after missing Juventus' 1-1 draw with Frosinone midweek, Juventus manager Max Allegri has announced at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon that Morata — who scored the game-winning goal in fine fashion against Manchester City a few weeks back — has returned from brief injury absence and will be available for selection when Juve face Napoli Saturday night.
Good news! It's good news for once!
Having Morata back in the fold will be an obvious boost to a squad — and group of strikers — that is clearly in need of something right now. If Morara wasn't fully fit, Juventus would be going into their trip to Naples with only Paulo Dybala and Simone Zaza as the only healthy strikers available to Allegri. It's one thing to have that happen against Frosinone, it's another thing to have no options whatsoever against a team like Napoli.
Now we wait and see if Morata's availability results in Allegri putting him right back into the starting lineup when Juve face Napoli. And, in turn, if Morata is available to start, what formation will Juventus field because of it. Then again, there's an answer for that in just a couple of seconds here, so why wait? Let's just go ahead and get straight to the point.
Other things of note during Allegri's pre-match press conference:
- With both Stephan Lichtsteiner and Martin Cáceres still out with their respective ills, Allegri said it's either Simone Padoin at right back or back to the tried and trusted BBC three-man backline from the opening kickoff. (I have a feeling this will certainly result in plenty of pro-Padoin supporters coming out of the woodwork once again. Or, more than likely, maybe even some kind of reasoning as to why using a 3-5-2 actually makes sense with the current injury situation.)
- Allegri has laid out a timetable for the (almost) return of Cáceres and some of the other injured players. Cáceres will return in time to face Sevilla next week, while midfielders Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio will be back training with the full squad next week and after the international break, respectively. Boy oh boy do they need Marchisio back as soon as humanly possible right now.
- During a week where Juventus will be facing Napoli and Sevilla within a few days of one another, Allegri is preaching calmness from his players. That sounds like a good idea. I also suggest staying calm when having a goal-scoring opportunity instead of blasting the shot over the goal by 20 yards.
- Allegri described Simone Zaza and Paulo Dybala's performances against Frosinone as "decent." I wouldn't exactly call that a ringing endorsement for either of the two young strikers.
- "Crisis? In terms of results, but not performances. It's the performances that will lead us to gain these results." So says Max. What say you?