Juventus host Napoli on Wednesday night in the Italian Super Cup at the neutral venue of Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore. Gennaro Gattuso’s Partenopei side beat Juventus on penalties in the Coppa Italian final in June and will face the same opposition in this match after the Old Lady lifted the Serie A title.
Juve lost 2-0 in their last match after being outclassed by Inter Milan. That was just the side’s second loss in their last 18 matches in all competitions under Andrea Pirlo. Prior to that, the Old lady had won six of their previous eight Serie games and were on a three match winning streak including a 3-1 away victory at log leaders, AC Milan.
After two league losses, both in their last five games (3-0 at home to Fiorentina being the other) plus six league draws already, Juventus sit seven points off the two Milan giants at the top of the table.
Juventus Team News
Pirlo will likely pick close to his best side for this match with perhaps Gianluigi Buffon getting a start in goal. They look likely to continue to be without all of Juan Cuadrado, Alex Sandro and Matthijs De Ligt in defence due to COVID-19 and Paulo Dybala is absent with a knee injury.
There could be a couple of changes from the Juventus defeat with Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie both likely to come into midfield with the places of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot at risk.
Juventus will be very motivated for this match and Pirlo will want to lift his first silverware as a coach. These types of games bring out the best in Cristiano Ronaldo and there are many experienced winners in this Juve squad.
Piro’s side struggled against Inter to get the ball into the feet of their attackers with too much stale possession at the back and they will need much more cutting edge in this match.
Gattuso’s team have been quite inconsistent this season. After a loss to Milan in late November, they responded with three Serie A wins on the bounce including thrashing Roma 4-0. They then lost away at Inter and Lazio in December and drew 1-1 at home with Torino.
They responded with a 4-1 win away at Cagliari before losing 2-1 at home to Spezia. Two more victories have since followed – a 2-1 win away at Udinese and then a 6-0 home win against Fiorentina this past weekend with five different goalscorers.
Napoli Team News
Gattuso is still without big money signing Victor Osimhen up front due to an ongoing shoulder problem whilst Arkadiusz Milik has not played all season and is finally set to depart in this transfer window. Andrea Petagna could lead the line whilst Dries Mertens is another option.
Kevin Malcuit is likely to be out with a calf injury at right-back and Fabian Ruiz is also unlikely to play in central midfielder after testing positive for COVID-19. Gattuso is expected to play his best XI in this match to try to win more silverware at the club.
Gattuso will be very keen to win this trophy having done well to win the Coppa Italia last season. His side are on the edge of a possible title challenge but that is a long shot and this is an immediate opportunity for glory.
Napoli are an attacking side who can blow opponents away and they have the best defensive record in Serie A but they are capable of games where they look complacent or just don’t turn up. That is what their combative coach will want to avoid. The top sides have also caused the coach some tactical problems, hence their defeats to AC Milan, Inter Milan and Lazio this season.
Juve have lost just 1 of their last 8 away Serie A matches
Juve have the third best defensive record in Serie A (18 conceced)
Juve have drawn 4 of their 9 matches away from their home ground in domestic competitions this season
Napoli have won 3 of their last 4 Serie A matches
Napoli have the best defensive record in Serie A (16 goals conceded)
Napoli have scored the second most goals in Serie A (40)
Napoli have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 4 matches
These sides have drawn just 1 of their last 7 meetings (the Coppa Italia final in June)
This is a difficult game to call. Napoli are very inconsistent and have lost against some of the top teams this season in Serie A (Milan, Inter and Lazio) so the best tip may be to go for Juventus to win the Super Cup. They have a squad of winners who know how to navigate these matches.