This is how bad things have gotten for Juventus as they enter their final Champions League game of the 2022-23.
All Juventus has to do to finish third and head into the Europa League come the new year is to simply avert any sort of disaster against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night. Juve, which enters the final group stage game incredibly shorthanded as the worst injury crisis of the season rolls on, can lose by a few goals and things will more than likely just be fine. That is thanks to PSG’s dismantling of Maccabi Haifa last week, allowing Juventus to have the upperhand on goal differential against the other two teams in the group even though Juve’s minus-3 goal differential ain’t great to begin with.
So, basically, the mindset for Max Allegri’s squad is to not screw up ... too much.
It’s a sad state of affairs when that is a main objective for a Champions League matchup between two very big names of European football. Of course, one of those teams is a very big name and has proven it through the group stage thus far, while the other one — and you can probably guess who’s who in this case — has floundered at just about every turn this season when the games are at their most meaningful.
That all adds up to this: Juventus hosting PSG on Wednesday night with one team trying to finish atop of Group H and the other team just trying to avert disaster (again) and secure a spot in the Europa League.
When the groups were draw a few months ago, it was originally thought that PSG visiting Turin on the final day of the group stage would be for a chance to, at the bare minimum, lock up a spot in the Champions League knockout rounds. Even entertaining a thought that Juventus would have one win in five group stage games entering this matchup against PSG was probably few and far between. Maybe not a spot in the round of 16 locked up by this point, but basically the complete opposite?
Yeah, not great.
But this is the bed that Allegri has made and now Juventus will have to live in it with, in all likelihood, some new Europa League-themed sheets on it.
Paris Saint-Germain followed up its 7-2 dismantling of Maccabi Haifa with another wild one — although a little more competitive — in its 4-3 win over Troyes over the weekend. In said win, Neymar scored, Lionel Messi scored, Kylian Mbappe scored and the French giants’ strengths were very much on display for pretty much everybody to see as they look to try and finish off the Champions League group stage unbeaten. (Neymar is suspended against Juventus, so at least Allegri has that going for him, which might be nice, I guess.)
That doesn’t exactly bode well for a Juventus team that has nearly as many players out injured as they do available for selection for this game. But that is just another twist in this season that has seen its fair share of disappointing developments.
The only real team news has to do with who isn’t available to play due to their respective injuries, right? So let’s go ahead and list them:
- Federico Chiesa
- Paul Pogba
- Dusan Vlahovic
- Gleison Bremer
- Angel Di Maria
- Leandro Parades
- Weston McKennie
- Mattia De Sciglio
- Samuel Iling-Junior
- Kaio Jorge
- Marley Ake
- And while it’s not an injury, Danilo is also out of this game due to suspension after picking up a yellow card against Benfica last week. That means Alex Sandro is the only natural senior team fullback available for selection to Max Allegri against PSG.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
GIVE ME BEANS.
Does this have to do something with the fact that Nicolo Fagioli scored an absolutely wonderful goal against Lecce over the weekend? Well, yes, absolutely.
Does this also have to do with the fact that Juventus has very little options outside of Fagioli when they face Paris-Saint Germain? Well, yeah, that is it, too.
No matter if it’s what’s behind Door 1, Door 2 or a still-unmentioned Door 3, the fact that we’re even entertaining the thought of Fagioli playing against PSG in the Champions League group stage finale is quite the change of tune from a few weeks ago. Of course it comes with the caveat of literally half the squad as well as half of Juve’s midfielders being injured, but Fagioli playing is a good thing because he’s pretty much one of the few things I want to see from this team right now.
There are a lot of reasons not to watch Juventus against PSG.
Fagioli playing against PSG is actually something to look forward to just to see what the kid can do against this high-priced sports car of a team. Maybe he has a so-so game, maybe he has a great game, who knows. But for this night, against a really good team, Fagioli will get a chance to show what he can do all of a couple days after the best moment of his young career.
One night won’t be the thing that determines his career. But for a player who has barely gotten much playing time at all this season, suddenly being thrust into the spotlight against an opponent like PSG is quite the turn of events from where we were a few weeks ago wondering when the heck this 21-year-old Juve youth product was actually going to get a chance to play.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.
Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 1 p.m. Pacific time. (Please note that the fall time change has already gone into effect in Europe, while the United States is a week behind.)
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TUDN USA, Univision (United States); BT Sport 6 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 252 (Italy).
Online/Streaming: Paramount+, TUDN.com, TUDN app, Univision NOW (United States); DAZN (Canada); BT Sport app, BTSport.com (United Kingdom);Mediaset Infinity, Sky GO Italia (Italy).
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.