The outcome of Saturday afternoon's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Juventus will be determined by both the players on the pitch and the absentees.
After Leonardo Bonucci's early sent-off during Milan's home draw against Genoa, which cost him a two-match ban, now the Bianconeri have lost a key asset, as Blaise Matuidi is thought to be missing the game due to a flexor strain.
According to Sky Sport Italia (via Calcio Mercato), the former Paris St-Germain midfielder has not recovered from such injury yet, and won't be featured on Saturday.
Matuidi reportedly picked up the problem during the warmups of Juventus' 6-2 win against Udinese, a match where the Frenchman could have certainly made the difference.
Massimiliano Allegri has seen just another of his crucial players being ruled out of an important match due to injury and will have to do without him despite Juventus' increasing defending lacks.
Matuidi adds up to an already vast number of young footballers in the Bianconeri's squad who have been out due to injury for quite a while. Last March, Croatian talent Marco Pjaca has seen his Champions League hopes end abruptly after a serious knee injury forced him to withdraw from the squad to recover. And he's still not back.
Benedikt Howedes, who joined the Serie A giants during the summer, is yet to make his debut with the black-and-white jersey due to a muscle strain. Lastly, Stefano Sturaro has been missing Juventus' past games since picking up a flexor strain, as Claudio Marchisio has just returned to playing after two months out.
Matuidi will possibly return for Juventus' Champions League showdown against Sporting. However, with all these players out, Massimiliano Allegri is likely to opt for the already consolidated duo Pjanic-Khedira in the Serie A match.