This weekend, Juventus plays again. It may only be a friendly, but for the first time since everybody took some time away from the club game to make way for a winter World Cup, Juve will take to the field against a quality opponent in hopes of doing some good things.
The the thing is, they’ll be shorthanded — and more than just the expected aspect of it. That’s on top of the players who are either still at the World Cup, have just gotten eliminated form the World Cup or are just back in Turin after being ousted from the World Cup.
Juventus announced on Wednesday that captain Leonardo Bonucci will not make the trip to London to face Arsenal on Saturday after picking up an adductor injury during training the day before. Bonucci, who has battled nagging muscle injuries throughout the 2022-23 season so far, will be out for at least 10 days. On top of that, La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Giovanni Albanese and Romeo Agresti of Goal Italia both reported Wednesday that Federico Chiesa will not make the trip to London because of his own adductor injury that he picked in training earlier this week.
As of now, there has not been any sort of timetable reported regarding Chiesa’s injury.
It is also extremely likely that Dusan Vlahovic, who just returned to Juventus Training Center on Wednesday and began side work, doesn’t make the trip to London with his lingering groin issue still being a thing even after World Cup duty with Serbia.
So, in case you were hoping that Juventus wouldn’t have to deal with any of the injury nonsense that we’ve seen take place over the first half of the 2022-23 (and the last few years, to be honest), time to think again because they aren’t going away just because the competitive games are on pause.
As much as Bonucci’s absence will hurt the overall squad depth at the back — remember, Max Allegri has gone all-Brazilian in his three-man defense since switching to a 3-5-2 a few weeks before the World Cup break — it’s Chiesa’s injury absence that is the disheartening one. This was a period of time — and especially now considering Juventus returning to Serie A play is just a couple of weeks away — in which Chiesa was truly ramping up his fitness to be ready for a larger workload after being eased back into things prior to the break. Chiesa got three appearances off the bench in following his lengthy absence due to major knee surgery, but it was January in which everybody had been circling for weeks now when it comes to when he would truly be back and return to the starting lineup.
For all we know, Chiesa could be back in a week or two and everything I just wrote was a complete overreaction. But the last thing Juve needs is Mr. Church battling a lingering minor injury (or injuries) over the next couple of months.