Juventus has had a September to forget. In their five matches this month, they have yet to win a single game with a record of 0-3-2. Two of those losses also came in Champions League Group H matches against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica. Juventus will need a near-perfect finish in the group stage to stay alive and advance to the knockout stage.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 14, 2022
Juventus’ struggles have come as a surprise to some, as they were expected to be a frontrunner in Group H. The team has fallen victim to a barrage of injuries in recent months, and they have struggled to bounce back from their slow start to the 2022-23 campaign.
Juventus has struggled with these injury woes as early as last season. Right winger Federico Chiesa went down with a ruptured ACL last January. Just one month later, striker Kaio Jorge suffered a patellar tendon rupture that sidelined him as well. Neither player has taken the field since their respective injuries.
A Less-Than-Ideal Homecoming for Paul Pogba
The club’s injury luck has not improved very much this season either. Pogba, one of their biggest additions this past summer, suffered a meniscus injury prior to the season beginning. He underwent knee surgery on Sept. 5 and is expected to be out until Jan. 2023.
The troubles have not stopped at injuries for Pogba. He has reportedly faced “multiple threats and blackmail attempts from an organized gang” since he signed on with Juventus. Pogba, who previously played for the club from 2012 to 2016, reportedly has a police protection detail in response to these concerns. Needless to say, his return to his old club got off to a rocky start.
More Injury Woes Still Dragging Juventus Down
In addition to Pogba and the club’s long-term injuries from last season, Juventus has already faced a handful of new injuries in recent months. Left winger Marley Aké suffered a fibula fracture two months ago and has not taken the field since. More recently, left-back Alex Sandro has dealt with “muscular problems” since Sept. 14 and has missed a pair of matches.
Midfielders Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot have also missed three matches each due to their respective injuries. Rabiot has struggled with “calf problems” for the last two weeks, while Rabiot’s injury remains unclear. The club expects both to return to the field sometime in the next two weeks.
While Locatelli, Rabiot and Sandro should be returning soon, Juventus still has a long way to go before they reach their full form. With Chiesa and Jorge still expected to miss at least another month, the club’s chances of advancing in the Champions League appear to be rapidly shrinking. They will either need new players to step up or some luck with their fellow Group H competitors. Either way, Juventus has a long road ahead of them before returning to their status as an elite club.