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Wednesday's Champions League action added a further dimension to what was already a key matchup in Sunday's game between Milan and Juventus.
Juve wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has enjoyed an excellent start to the season. He has marauded freely down the right side and stretched opposing defenses, leaving room for the likes of Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal to finish with relish.
Visiting Milan's best answer to him at left-back is youngster Mattia De Sciglio, but he has undergone surgery to repair torn knee cartilage. This has left converted midfielder Kevin Constant to cover at left-back.
In a matchup between Lichtsteiner and Constant, a fan can be forgiven for giving the edge to the Juve man.
It's not certain, however, that that is what we are going to see.
Lichtsteiner was forced off at halftime due to injury in Wednesday's match, and Football-Italia reports that the Swiss international needs further examination on Friday before it can be determined if he can play.
Juve's options to replace Lichtsteiner can't really match his quality.
Mauricio Isla was abysmal in relief of the injured player on Wednesday. In light of that and his poor performance last week against Chievo, it's hard to see him playing in this one. Simone Padoin was Lichtsteiner's deputy for much of last season and is a hard worker, but he's only played 19 minutes this season. Another option is Marco Motta—a name that sends shivers up the spines of Juve fans who remember his poor play in the team's unhappy 2010-11 season.
Unfortunately for Conte, his two best options to replace Lichtsteiner—Simone Pepe and Martin Caceres—are both nursing injuries themselves.
Should Lichtsteiner not play, Padoin is probably the best replacement available. Even if he does play he may not be 100 percent. If Constant can take advantage of an unfit Lichtsteiner or a replacement, it could give Milan valuable width in the attack and deprive Juve of the same. The winner in this battle will probably give his team the upper hand in the match as a whole.