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How should Juventus line up against Lyon?

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For the first time in a while, there’s actually some tough decisions for Maurizio Sarri to make.

Juventus v Brescia Calcio - Serie A Photo by Giorgio Perottino - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

In Juventus’ last two games, Maurizio Sarri has gone with a 4-3-3 formation more out of choice than necessity. It has, to a certain extent, worked out well for the Italian champions, as Sarri’s side has looked at least relatively competent going forward rather than the complete guessing game we had made in the handful of games prior to the wins over Brescia and SPAL.

But in the last two days, we’ve gotten some rather good Juventus news on the injury front for once. On Sunday, Miralem Pjanic returned to training after missing Saturday’s win over SPAL. Twenty-four hours later, Gonzalo Higuain — who also missed the trip to Ferrara over the weekend due to a back injury — also returned to full training with the squad.

By all accounts, both of those players will be available for the first leg of Juventus’ Champions League Round of 16 tie against Lyon on Wednesday night. That’s about as healthy as the Juventus squad has been in weeks, although somebody like Douglas Costa — and obviously Merih Demiral, too — is still a week or so away from being included in the healthy and available selection group.

And there’s also this added bonus, too: Giorgio Chiellini, fresh off his first start since the season opener, is back in the mix as well, which could make things rather interesting for Sarri going forward.

(You know, the whole reputation that Sarri doesn’t rotate his squad as much as he should.)

The decisions that Sarri has to make seem somewhat clear from the outside looking in:

  • Do you start Chiellini for the second game in a row now that he’s back or slow play it with the 35-year-old captain and pair Matthijs de Ligt with Leonardo Bonucci?
  • If Juan Cuadrado starts as a right winger like he has the past two games, who do you go with at right back, Danilo or Mattia De Sciglio?
  • Who starts on the left side of the midfield, Adrien Rabiot or Blaise Matuidi?
  • Where does Higuain fit into all of this?
  • But Paulo Dybala has to start as a false 9 ... right?

Knowing who’s back training and who is obviously a few weeks away, I’ve got a hunch there won’t be too many — if any major — surprises when Sarri announces the traveling squad for the trip to France. Unless there’s some last-minute thing that comes up, it should be filled with pretty much everybody we expect to be there. Basically, the usual suspects ... as long as they’re 100 percent healthy.

So, with all of that being said, how should Juventus line up on Wednesday night? There are decisions to be made, but they’re not actually going to be made by us. Although, while you’re discussing what you think Juve should do, you can always put a cigarette in your mouth like Sarri does on the sidelines during games. Habits are habits, after all ...