Juventus enter the Champions League knockout stages with what is statistically the best defense in Italy and one of the best across all of Europe. Over the last 16 games they’ve only conceded one goal, but injuries could weaken their defensive unit for tomorrow’s key first leg with Tottenham Hotspur.
According to Football Italia, Andrea Barzagli is a doubt with a calf problem.
Barzagli did not take part in today’s training session due to a muscular problem in his right calf.
It is only a bruise rather than a strain, explain medics, but the veteran defender is still causing concern.
Paulo Dybala is also increasingly unlikely to feature after his muscular issues, working separately from the rest of the team.
Juan Cuadrado, Benedikt Howedes and Blaise Matuidi will certainly miss out.
A muscular calf problem wouldn’t be too much of an issue for a younger player, but Barzagli is 36-years-old. These type of bruises have a tendency to accumulate at that age and would slow down a center back for whom pace is already an issue.
Cuadrado, Matuidi, and Paulo Dybala are probably the more damaging absences for Juve. All three players, when healthy, have been a key part of another season near the top of Serie A for the Bianconeri.
Without Barzagli we can expect to see Mehdi Benatia and Giorgio Chiellini in central defense. Benatia and Chiellini have both had strong seasons this year as Juventus have primarily switched from playing with three center backs to playing with two following this summer’s sale of Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan.
Still, Juventus are an incredibly experienced team who will pose a significant challenge to Spurs no matter who is in their lineup.
It all begins tomorrow in Turin when this crucial first leg kicks off at 2:45 EST.