As Juventus players arrived for one last training session at Continassa before heading off to Saudi Arabia, the talk amongst the Italian press was just how fit Wojciech Szczesny and Alex Sandro were going to be for the upcoming Italian Super Cup just a couple of days later. It was understandable since one had missed the last two games with a shoulder injury (Szczesny) and the other had to be subbed off late in Juve’s midweek win over Sampdoria (Sandro).
Twenty-four hours and a traveling squad announcement later, those fears seem to be squashed in the same kind of fashion as you finally connecting with the fly swatter to get that annoying bug in your living room.
Both Szczesny and Sandro have made the trip to the Middle East and, as the Italian press is widely speculating with their predicted lineups on the eve of Sunday’s Supercoppa, are expected to return to the starting lineup against Lazio. While there may be a few other decisions to make starting lineup-wise for Maurizio Sarri — stick with the Big Three up front, whether to start Matthijs de Ligt or Merih Demiral alongside Leonardo Bonucci in defense — it doesn’t seem as though a race to match fitness for Szczesny or Sandro is going to be an issue.
Here, in full, is the 24-man traveling squad Sarri has called up for the Super Cup against Lazio:
(Don’t get too excited about Giorgio Chiellini being included in the traveling squad. It’s not because he’s ready to play or anything close to that. He’s been on the bench for pretty much every home game as well as in the stands for many of the away fixtures, so this is pretty much the norm ever since he underwent knee surgery in September.)
Szczesny — who must be feeling a little better based on the fact he’s posting amusing content on Instagram again — had to pull out of the match day squad a couple of hours before Juventus’ 3-1 win over Udinese over the weekend. Gigi Buffon, as he has done for pretty much the entire season outside of a couple of sluggish moments, filled in quite well for Juventus’ No. 1 keeper. And you would have to think that if Szczesny wasn’t 100 percent and ready to go then he wouldn’t have been called up for what is essentially a glorified friendly.
Same goes for Sandro, who was replaced by Mattia De Sciglio with eight minutes to go in regular time in Wednesday’s win over Sampdoria. Sandro had quite the eventful evening prior to being taken off with fears of a minor muscle injury, recording assists on both Juve goals and then playing a key role in what turned out to be Sampdoria’s equalizer late in the first half.
Luckily for us, every sign is pointing toward Szczesny and Sandro being healthy — which, knowing he dangerous Lazio’s attack looked a couple of weeks ago at the Stadio Olimpico, is rather important to trying to slow down Serie A’s most in-form team.