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Juventus v Lazio Supercoppa Italia Match Preview

August 12, 2017

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Juventus v Lazio

Supercoppa –  Sunday, 13th August – 19:45 GMT – Stadio Olimpico


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Juventus

This eventful transfer window stops for a minute because it’s time for some official football: the Supercoppa Italiana is here, back on Italian soil and in its usual spot in the schedule, in the middle of August, regaining its original nature as a glorified friendly.

Juventus have had so far a very interesting reinforcement campaign, albeit not a complete one yet: one big piece is missing and some could argue maybe two or three. As far as I am concerned, I think the only white whale is the midfielder, but I am confident the management will be able to land one, even though it looks like they are scrambling a little bit. That probably means that their first target was unavailable because with big purchases, like Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, they laid the ground months in advance, pounced early and they simply ironed out the details of the transfer in the summer. Most of the names circulating are intriguing and the profile is clear: a big physical player who has decent technique; a perfect Miralem Pjanic partner.

The moves made so far solidified 4-2-3-1 as the main scheme and most of the resources were allotted in the attack: gone are the days of Stefano Sturaro and Mario Lemina playing as wingers. It is a more offensive approach, veering from the Italian way of prioritizing the defensive phase. They also built an extremely good bench, which will be able to turn matches around in a way that we had not seen in the past.

Gianluigi Buffon will have Wojciech Szczesny, arguably the top performer in this role in the past season, as his backup: Gigi will remain the starter in what should be his final full season, but he wil probably rest 5-6 times more. Bringing in the replacement a year earlier is a good idea and signing an experienced goalkeeper, instead of young up-and-comer, reduces the burden of being the heir of a legendary figure.

There are doubts on every level of the field. The newcomer Mattia De Sciglio is battling with Stephan Lichtsteiner to start on the right flank: the drop-off in quality from Dani Alves is evident and many are clamouring for a new fullback. Giuseppe Marotta & co. have been hesitant so far after inquiring about some good prospects. A couple of things are in play here: De Sciglio might not be great, but he is still very young and has shown flashes when properly motivated; Lichtsteiner is in final year of his contract; we already have an up-and-comer under contract in Pol Lirola, who is cutting his teeth at Sassuolo. So I could see the reasoning behind waiting another year to see if the Spaniard flourishes before making a splash in that position, where having two excellent interprets would be redundant.

The ideal scenario would be to convince Atalanta to let us have Leonardo Spinazzola a year earlier, which would allow us to cash in on Kwadwo Asamoah, who has an expiring contract and has received some offers. Spinazzola has played on the left, but should have no problem adapting to other flank considering that he is right footed. He would be primarily Alex Sandro’s backup, but if both Lichtsteiner and De Sciglio disappointed, you could have the option of trying him there. Juan Cuadrado could end up playing a bunch of games as fullback as well. Spinazzola is not Gianluca Zambrotta, but he could be a very useful player for the present and for the future, considering also that he is homegrown. I think the management is working hard on this plan, maybe including an investment on a prospect, say Diego Laxalt, and sending him in to Bergamo as a replacement.

The heart of the defence is another area of concern among fans and understandably so considering the shocking departure of a world class player like Leonardo Bonucci. Numerically, we could be fine with four specialists, if everybody stayed healthy. Unfortunately that is a big question mark with aging players like Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. It would be a gamble also from the quality standpoint: you would be betting on Daniele Rugani making the leap and on Benatia recapturing his Roma form. The solution could be at half way: start the season like this and seeing where you are at in January, before the truly gigantic games starts. But you may have to spend a buck more in the winter. As for the starter this Sunday, besides Chiellini it really is anybody’s game.

In the midfield, now deprived of Mario Lemina and Tomas Rincon who were astutely sold, waiting for a new arrival, the biggest news of the pre-season has been Claudio Marchisio returning to peak condition. That is a very welcomed development, especially in the event the management does not land a big name. Il Principino could start, either for Sami Khedira or Miralem Pjanic.

The new and improved line of attacking midfielders will be a jigsaw puzzle all year long. As for the debut, it looks like Mario Mandzukic is locked in on the left, with one between Cuadrado and Douglas Costa on the right. Paulo Dybala was recently given the historic number 10 and this is a big vote of confidence in a summer where Barcelona and Real Madrid have been on his trails and have openings in the attack. Despite the change of number, you could argue that a lot of pressure has been taken off La Joya’s shoulders in this offseason: creativity-wise, he was the guy in the attack last season, but in the upcoming one he gets to share those duties with two stellar playmakers like Bernardeschi and Costa. The happiest man might end up being Gonzalo Higuain, who is gearing up for a season full of sweet dimes.

4-2-3-1: Buffon; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain. 

Injuries: 

None.

Suspensions:

None.

 

 

Lazio

Lazio have had a weird summer, marred by three thorny contractual situations: thanks to Claudio Lotito’s superb negotiating techniques, Lucas Biglia, Stefan De Vrij and Balde Keita all entered the transfer window with expiring contracts. They could not agree to terms with Biglia and Milan were quick to take advantage of the situation and acquire him for a decent sum. The same could be happening with the sturdy Dutch and the Spaniard and Juventus have sniffed around both. They could both end up staying and extending, but with twenty days to go before the end of transfer market, the situation is less than ideal because, if they left, they would have very little time to replace two huge pieces of the roster. Losing them for free next year would be a flat out disaster. In the midfield, they opted for Lucas Leiva, who might have a little less quality but fits the profile as a leader. Luis Alberto could be an interesting piece there down the line.

Simone Inzaghi seems more focused on 3-5-2 rather than on 4-3-3. On this front, they have signed Adam Marusic who is tailor made to play as right wing back and might make his debut on Sunday if he manages to beat out Dusan Basta this soon.

They have a couple of issues regarding the lineup. Felipe Anderson is dealing with some muscle fatigue and is unlikely to recover in time, but he is trying. UPDATE: Keita was slated to start, but he was shockingly left out of the squad list. Filippo Inzaghi hinted in the presser that he will field only players that “have the right face.” The Spaniard lashed out on Facebook after the decision, that was not based on sports reasons in his mind. We know that Juventus covet Keita and would very much appreciate the opportunity to sign him below market price, but Lotito has not caved yet. It will be interesting to see whether it will be Keita-or-bust as far as Juventus’ attack goes, considering how deep it already is and that Marko Pjaca is making strides in his recovery.

As far as this match goes, Inzaghi does not have many options for the attack: he will have to either force Anderson’s recovery or try a new approach, which would likely include Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto as attacking midfielders, but at this a solution outside of the box or an attack with two pure strikers, inserting Felipe Caicedo, is possible. Without Anderson, it would also be pretty difficult to deploy other schemes.

Stefan Radu is dealing with some muscular problems as well and at this point he is behind Wesley Hoedt for the starting job as left centre-back, but he has been called up, so he still has a chance. Wallace should complete the department. No matter how they are spread on the pitch, the midfield will feature Marco Parolo, Milinkovic-Savic and Senad Lulic on the left. All very physical and sneaky players: if the coach manages to get them all involved offensively, they could be hard to contain since they could cover the whole width of the pitch. The starting striker will be Ciro Immobile, who will try to repeat his marvellous 2016/2017 season.

Probable lineup: 

3-4-2-1: Strakosha; Wallace, De Vrij, Hoedt; Marusic, Parolo, Leiva, Lulic; Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic; Immobile. 

Injuries: 

None.

Suspensions:

Bastos.

 

Watch Live

You can stream the game live via OZ.com  – Sign up here: https://www.oz.com/italian-super-cup

 

Formation

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  • Great to see you back, Enrico.

    And I am looking forward to the supercoppa. Great chance to see how our pre-season work has counted.

    Whilst I am happy to see one of our former youth prospects prospering, and of course will praise the club for finally giving a chance to one who flew the nest a few years back after starring in the primavera, I am less enthusiastic about the net gain of Spinazzola. I prefer to see players purchased to play in the same role there they have excelled elsewhere. And Leonardo was a LM last season…I suppose you could call it a wingback position of sorts, but he was more often deploy central and high up the flank, than defensively positioned. At least from what I have seen, which is really not that much of the lad.

    Purchasing a wide midfielder to play as a left back in a flat back four is not wise. Yet perhaps he has more defensive zeal than I give him credit for. I am aware of his versatility playing on either flank…

    As a LW or RW I fear he would play rarely. Too many more talented players ahead of him especially when Pjaca returns.

    Cuardrado as a fullback is a horrifying idea! I have more faith in Max than to try something so perilous…

    If as many seem keen to see happen, Asamoah leaves, and Lichsteiner is pushed out, the turnover of players will almost certainly lead to a period of upheaval, in terms of form. We already have Bernardeschi, Costa and probably/hopefully Keita to appear…add in the huge loss of Bonucci and I would advise people to prepare for a few disappointing performances early doors. As the side readjusts, recallibrates and hopefully, before any other side gets a decent lead at the top, we will come good deeper into the season.

  • Geniuinely excited to see Juve back in action – The summer seems to have gone by so quickly. Curious to see how we’ll fare without the nameless one at the back,
    Really hoping to seeing Douglas Costa start and Bernardeschi from the bench at some stage – Both offer something we’ve lacked and look like a versatile pair.

    On a side note, Keita left out of the Lazio squad and very vocal about it. We might yet get our man this summer…..

    • I assumed when seeing his words last week of ‘great things take time’ that the deal was done…His exclusion confirms it. Or Inzaghi made the decision his head wasn’t right. Perhaps they simply didn’t want him playing against them and scoring the winner…

      No sign of the game in the local Riga pubs, so will come back here to my cell block and try use the haphazard wifi!. Not sure how this dwarf chromebook will handle an attempt at a live stream but will be prepared for text commentary!

  • E.Micallef

    We are still work in progress. Seeing Bernardeschi and Douglas sidelined leave me with numb feeling I don’t think Neymar will be sidelined and he was recently introduced to a new club. We spend some 80 million on those two I would like to see at least one deployed on the pitch.

  • Can anyone suggest some decent streams!!!??? Please.

    • E.Micallef

      You can see it on rai in streaming. Today it is on a non pay tv

      • link didnt work, said only available in Italy!

        • E.Micallef

          You’re not missing much

        • VonKellef

          Next time my friend do as I do when I find my self without options. Google Juventus and the opponents name and add reddit stream. It will take you to some reddit thread with a couple of stream options. So far it has always worked for me.

  • E.Micallef

    Terrible performance up till now. We both players we need to play them. Again this 352. I thought it was death and buried. Still again..

  • E.Micallef

    Are you serious??. Alex Sandro is playing in defence??

  • Just remember, folks…its basically a glorified friendly.

    • E.Micallef

      So why did we talk about a missed up last year in Doha. It’s the first official game.

      • of the supercoppa…I focus on the league and CL. Then the coppa italia. None have even begun.

  • JuventusBuffon

    Good fucking luck getting 3rd this season….. A football game is 90 minutes!! That’s how long u need to play for, not not in 5min increments, not in 15min increments!!! 90!!!

  • Before I aim for slumber…the game was no surprise to me. We have had a half hearted pre-season, too much traveling, too few games, as Chiellini stated. We also lost Bonucci, have three new players likely to be slowly bred into the first XI, maybe 2 more to come. People need to prepare themselves for more of what we just endured. Games where we are woeful, no shape, no flow, no form, then when backs are against the wall, and the major talents appears, we start to play…

    I am unsure how quickly Max will include Bernardeschi and Costa from the start. That is an obvious need. Also, Marchisio needs to be starting. Other than which, change to a 4-3- X.

    It really is 4th on the list of priorities to me. I focus on the League first and foremost, then the CL, then the coppa italia. I believe the club do the same. None of those competitions have started.

    We will need time to adjust. The hope for me is that no other side gets too far ahead, before we find our cohesion, system and momentum.

    As always…forza juve.

    • E.Micallef

      As always!!, But do we really have to stick to one centre forward. We have Manzu whom is not a winger. Let him play upfront with Higuain.

  • Jas

    The team will need time to gel together, I hope costa and bernardeschi get in the starting lineup soon. Cuadrado is useless for the most part, once the subs came in the game really opened up.

  • Dar Black

    Hopefully this will wake us up… Costa looked good as did Sandro.

  • E.Micallef

    Initial formation in my humble opinion should be Buffon De Sciglio Rugani Chiellini Alex Sandro Pjanic Marchisio Douglas Costa Bernardeschi Dybala Higuain. A mix of 433 or 424. Sandro is capable of doing the flank alone. Costa should think to press on the forward line no going back for him.

  • Jamaal Aj

    Why Allegri start Barzagli because he is overweight and 36 years old although we had two right back and even we play small club like Lazio.

  • Max
  • Xx RForcE xX
  • Theo

    We are definitely not in top physical shape so i expect a few more performances like that over the next month or so. Credit also to Lazio who played a good game and not just by ‘running more’ as il Mister put it in the post match interview. In terms of team selection i think this was a clear nod to the guys who ‘won’ the right to be here last season.
    I’m most worried about our build up play. With Pjanic dropping deep and Chiello and/or Benatia taking too long to take the ball forward this would be the component we would be suffering the most. At some point Allegri has to consider reverting to a three man midfield

    • E.Micallef

      Constructively the whole point is we defend too much. When a player gets a ball in our own half we are all there and he has no options. Players like Dybala Costa and Higuain are meant to be left up in order when you receive the ball they end up devastating the opponents defence with speed dribble and finishing.

      Pjanic has the vision but unfortunately he has no option. That’s why Bonucci was important. We tended to go backwards rather then forward and then he started the action. Now we have to be quick and use our forward talent. It’s like Madrid do. You risk more but it’s more fun to play to see and if you get things right you end up being spectacular.

  • Xx RForcE xX

    Matuidi will undergo his medicals today .