Juventus’ preparations for the Champions League final have been dealt a major blow by a calf injury that will keep defender Giorgio Chiellini out of the contest.
It’s a cruel blow for a man who has been with the Bianconeri since prior to the 2005/06 ‘calciopoli’ campaign and an integral part of the side that has won four successive scudetti.
For Barcelona backers it will make the 31/50 about Luis Enrique’s men winning the tie in the 90 minutes all the more attractive, at the same time reducing the appeal of the Italians as 17/4 match-betting underdogs.
But are Juve really so inferior when the defensive stalwart is absent? Looking at the figures from the 2014/15 campaign up until now should shed some light…
Chiellini has started 43 of the Old Lady’s 56 games in all competitions so far this term, winning 29 (67%), drawing ten (23%) and losing four (9%).
In the 13 fixtures he hasn’t started they have been victorious seven times (54%), drawn four (31%) and lost twice (15%)
It doesn’t make pleasant reading for the Old Lady’s supporters, however the fact that Andrea Barzagli is expected to come in for his injured compadre may, counterintuitively, be a positive.
Not only is the stand-in regarded as more of a technically proficient defender, but Juve haven’t lost a match in which he has made the XI during 2014/15.
That has happened on 11 occasions, bringing eight wins (73%) and three draws (27%).
Juventus’ results without him in the starting lineup saw 28 victories (62%), the spoils shared on 11 occasions (24%) and six defeats (13%) sustained.
It’s not as if Barzagli has merely been assisting Chiellini on the rare occasions he has made the XI either, with the latter teammate not among the starters on the last five occasions the former has featured from the off .
During that time Juve have won the Coppa Italia and slammed Napoli at home 3-1.
They are 51/20 to win the Champions League by any means necessary in Berlin.