Soccer (or Football, if you will) has its fair share of injuries, like any other sport, and, like in other sports, there are teams that will be ravaged with injuries, depleted of stars or even first team players. Right now, that team is Juventus. The multitude of injuries may lead fans to start wondering if there's something in the Turin water.
Last Saturday, before the injury bug spread to most of the first team, Juventus faced A.C. Milan, hated rivals and strong competitors for a Scudetto this year. Though this Milan team may include the fearsome strike force of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Pato, they failed to come out on top. Juventus opened up the scoring with a headed effort from Fabio Quagliarella (who has been in fine form lately.) The man credited with the assist from that goal, Paolo De Ceglie, would later be taken out of the game injured, one more in a long list of injured Juventus men.
Then came the second and final Juventus goal. One on one with the keeper, Mohammed Sissoko blew a chance at a goal, but luckily for him Alessandro Del Piero, captain of the squad and Juventus hero, scored his 179th goal, a new club record, on the rebound. Now up 2-0, all Juve had to do was to keep a lead, which they managed to do, despite a Milan onslaught and a goal in the 82nd minute, courtesy of former Juventus man, and current greedy superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
A successful result in Milan means that Gigi Delneri's Juventus side is a force to be reckoned with in Italy. But in European competition... not so much. On Thursday, for the fourth time in group play, Juventus drew. Maybe it was the fact that a good amount of the team regulars were injured, and some Primavera players were playing on the team, but once again Juventus disappointed in Europe.
This means that the game against Lech Poznan, on December 1st, in Poland, is a must win, and Juventus will still probably need a win against Man City on December 17th, a result that is possible, but definitely not assured, as Manchester's overpaid superstars always have the potential to tear any team apart.
Despite the midweek disappointment and the rash on injuries, Juventus were optimistic going into Sunday's match against Cesena, a fairly weak team, although a good squad is prepared regardless of their opponent.
On Sunday, even though they didn't necessarily play very well, Juventus won 3-1, despite the fact that Cesena scored first. Cesena gifted a penalty kick to Juve, which was eagerly converted by Alessandro Del Piero, who has the novelty of knowing that every goal he scores now in a Juventus uniform breaks the record, previously held by him. Later on, Marchisio played a ball to Quagliarella, who scored on a header, and then Iaquinta scored to pad Juve's lead.
While the Bianconeri's play on Sunday was not ideal, they still brought home three points, and now lie in fourth place with 18 points, four points behind league leaders Lazio and one point behind hated rivals Inter Milan. Inter, by the way, is very much on schedule in their Rafa Benitez-led destruction, assuming he stays there all year, next summer will give Rafa many opportunities to overpay for players, and to sell away good players too.
Delneri and co. have a lot to be grateful about, such as their wins over Milan and Cesena despite having half of a squad, but they also have a lot to worry about, like the hard schedule they face for the rest of the month, with games against Roma and Fiorentina coming up, and the injury problem facing the team. But if Juventus can keep up the results that they have been earning lately, then I think they will be alright.
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