Max Allegri and his Juventus squad made the trip to Naples on Friday night, arriving at their hotel to a little bit of fanfare but also with a giant question mark hanging over them. (Not literally because that would defy physics.) That is only natural when you put together the fact that Juventus has started the season in less-than convincing fashion and probably half of the usual starting lineup is back in Turin because of their involvement in South American World Cup qualifiers over the international break.
Here goes nothin’, I guess.
Juventus has gone from one end of Italy to the other. Yes, with the limited squad numbers and all, essentially with 17 senior squad members to go with three Under-23 players called up for tonight’s match against Napoli. There will be players starting this game who wouldn’t normally be playing in a game of this magnitude, but that is the situation that Juventus finds itself in because there aren’t any South Americans in the squad.
Max Allegri, a man who has not exactly impressed in the first two games of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign, has his work cut out for him on this day with so many of his regular starters back in Turin. We don’t know what formation he will be rolling out or what the current situation will force him into.
It’s just the complete opposite of what you would have hoped Juventus would be dealing with going into a match like this one where Allegri’s squad really does need a win.
But because of the World Cup qualifying situation in South America and the fact that Federico Chiesa picked up a minor muscle injury during the international break, so many important players aren’t available for this game.
All of this means that optimism isn’t exactly brimming from the person who is writing all of this out. I’m sure I’m not alone in that line of thinking. But we’re about to find out what Juve’s depth is all about. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not very good. Hopefully it’s good. Let’s pray that it’s good for at least one night in mid-September knowing that Juve needs three points in the worst possible way no matter who’s in the starting lineup.
When: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021
Where: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, Italy
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. Eastern Time; 9 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pellegrini; McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot; Kulusevski, Morata, Bernardeschi
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, de Ligt, Rugani, de Winter, Ramsey, Miretti, Kean, Soule
Napoli starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Anguissa; Politano, Elmas, Insigne; Osimhen
Napoli bench: Idasiak, Marfella, Malcult Rrahmani, Zanoli, Juan Jesus, Ounas, Zielinski, Lozano, Petagna
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom)
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