After a draw against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday, Juventus’ next match is already on the horizon. The Bianconeri will face Empoli on Saturday evening at the Stadio Carlo Castellani, while also having to deal with some new injuries. Max Statman gives you a match preview, which also includes some quotes from Max Allegri’s press conference.
Both Weston McKennie and Alex Sandro sustained injuries against Villarreal on Tuesday. The Brazilian will miss Saturday’s match, while the American is going to be out for a longer period. McKennie fractured the second and third metatarsal of his left foot and is expected to be out for at least two months.
Another player that is going to be out for a while, is Kaio Jorge. The Brazilian played a match for Juventus U23 on Wednesday, but had a rupture of the patellar tendon of his right knee. His recovery time will be around eight months. Juventus captain Paulo Dybala also won’t be available against Empoli, but there’s hope that he could return soon. “Paulo Dybala could be ready for Fiorentina”, Max Allegri said during Friday’s press conference. “Giorgio Chiellini is out until next week”, the Juventus coach added. Federico Bernardeschi is also not ready yet.
Leonardo Bonucci played the second half against Villarreal, so he should be available on Saturday too. Allegri also said that there are U23 players who are ready to play if needed. Aké, Soulé and Miretti are the players Allegri is most likely referring to.
There should be some changes in Saturday’s starting lineup compared to the one against Villarreal. With Alex Sandro out, there’s a big chance of seeing Luca Pellegrini at left back. The Italian played a couple of minutes at the end of the Champions League match. Bonucci is expected to return alongside Matthijs de Ligt in the centre of defence. One of Danilo or Mattia de Sciglio should start at right back.
With Weston McKennie out, the most likely midfielder to replace him seems Denis Zakaria. Allegri spoke about his attacking options in the press conference too. “There could be room for Kean upfront, and in that case one of Alvaro Morata and Dusan Vlahovic will rest.”
Max Statman’s expected lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Pellegrini; Zakaria, Locatelli, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Vlahovic, Kean
Juventus have played 27 matches against Empoli. The Bianconeri won the majority of them, 20 to be exact. Juventus lost 4 and drew 3 times, which gives them a win percentage of around 74 percent. Earlier this season, Juventus lost 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium against the Azzurri. Leonardo Mancuso scored the only goal for the visitors.