When Juventus announced that it was going to play a friendly against Arsenal a week before Christmas, there was always going to be a part of the regular senior team that had no chance of making the trip to London. That’s because of the very obvious factor of having a winter World Cup where players are slowly trickling back in after international duty.
And the injuries.
Oh those wonderful injuries.
Most of Juventus’ biggest names were not called up for the trip to London to face Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday night. There is no Federico Chiesa, no Paul Pogba, no Dusan Vlahovic and no Leonardo Bonucci all because of their respective injuries that may or may not keep them out into January. Combine that with just a handful of the 11 players who went to the World Cup having actually returned to Turin or just back at training and you’ve got Max Allegri with a squad chock full of youngsters as Juventus gets set to play its first game since the World Cup break began a little over a month ago.
Here is the traveling squad in full called up by Allegri:
The squad selected for Saturday’s friendly Arsenal ⚪⚫ pic.twitter.com/hetoMhQaG7— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 16, 2022
Look at that list. There’s a whole lot of names that if you haven’t regularly followed the Juventus Next Gen or primavera squads the last few years you won’t recognize. And considering that the Next Gen boys have a game literally a couple of hours before
In total, there are 12 players from the youth setup called up for Saturday’s friendly. (Can’t wait for Arsenal fans to subsequently talk about how cooked Juve’s roster is because of all the players who are playing during the friendly that they’ve never heard of. That should be fun, right?)
Chiesa and Bonucci are expected to return before the World Cup break is over, but the same can’t be said for Pogba as he continues to slowly make his way back to training on the field after undergoing meniscus surgery. Vlahovic, meanwhile, appears to still be dealing with the groin injury that he’s had since before the World Cup break arrived in mid-November.
The one good thing about the squad list is that youngster Samuel Iling-Junior is included — which gives us a pretty good sign that he has fully recovered from the injury that kept him out the last couple of weeks of the pre-World Cup break schedule.
For those wondering, the game will be broadcast live on Juventus TV online as well as Sky Sport Uno in Italy. Kickoff in Italy is set for 7 p.m. (19:00 CET).