The last couple of weekends would have been perfect opportunities for Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri to rotate his squad in anticipation of a busy — and incredibly important end to February and the beginning of March. The problem has been that, because of injuries, the squad rotation hasn’t exactly been possible.
One of those injuries actually happened just when it looked like Miralem Pjanic was going to get some much, much, much needed rest last weekend. Instead, Sarri brought Pjanic on as substitute with 25 minutes to go ... only to have Pjanic last all of eight minutes before having to be subbed out due to injury.
The good news was that Pjanic’s original diagnosis said that he wouldn’t be out very long. And, what do you know, that was exactly on the money.
Pjanic returned to full training with the group on Sunday afternoon after suffering a muscle injury last weekend against Brescia. The bad news is that Gonzalo Higuain, who missed Juve’s 2-1 win over SPAL on Saturday with a back injury, continued with his rehabilitation back to full fitness away from the group.
From Juventus’ recap of Sunday’s training session:
Maurizio Sarri’s men trained in the morning at the JTC: recovery for those who took to the field in Ferrara and technical / physical work for the rest of the team. Miralem Pjanic returned to the group carrying out the complete training session, while Gonzalo Higuain continued his personalised work on the field.
At this point, Pjanic missing out on Wednesday night’s game against Lyon will be a bigger deal than him being in the starting lineup. If he’s back in training three days before the game is set to kick off, then it seems like it’s a virtual lock that Pjanic is going to be playing in his usual spot in Sarri’s midfield come Wednesday night.
Obviously, Higuain is a different matter. While we can rule out Douglas Costa seeing as he’s not even mentioned in the training recap and is probably still a week or so away from getting back into the squad, Higuain looks to be a rather large question mark heading into the trip to France. With the way Paulo Dybala has played as a false 9 the last couple of games, maybe that’s not as big of a deal as it might have been a few months ago, but having Higuain as an option off the bench is still something that Sarri has used quite effectively throughout this season.