Wednesday May 17 2017
Coppa trap for Juventus

All the talk of a Treble has Juventus underestimating the test Lazio pose in the Coppa Italia Final, writes Susy Campanale.

Juventus fans had it all planned out. Get a point against Roma on Sunday for the Scudetto, win the Coppa Italia on Wednesday and return to Turin for the title party in the final home game against Crotone. That leaves a good week to prepare for Real Madrid in the Champions League Final, as Bologna are nothing but a footnote in the campaign. Open-top bus booked, stage set, singers arranged. Such hubris from the Old Lady.

Max Allegri and his players continue to declare “we’ve won nothing yet,” but the message really hasn’t gone through. For weeks and even months there has been talk of doing the Treble and following in the footsteps of Inter in 2010, but Juve are getting way ahead of themselves here.

There were signs of trouble when scraping draws with Atalanta and Torino, then they ran into a Roma side that was clearly more motivated. It had little to do with the title race and all about trying to avoid the dreaded Champions League preliminary round. Juve were playing for a point and it showed, but the real worry is that this performance was the culmination of a trend rather than a one-off blip.

In the past, the Bianconeri have used defeats to shake themselves out of their torpor and get focused again. After the loss to Genoa in November, they surged up the standings. Following Fiorentina in January, Allegri switched to 4-2-3-1 and never looked back. Perhaps this setback at the Olimpico is just what they needed to prevent a potential slide right at the business end of the season.

Don’t already look ahead to Cardiff and Real Madrid. Lazio are on fire at the moment with Keita Balde Diao and Ciro Immobile in particularly sparkling form. They have a bad record against Juve, losing their last six meetings, but the same was true in the Derby della Capitale before smashing Roma twice between Serie A and Coppa Italia in a matter of weeks.

While Juventus have their gaze towards the horizon for the Scudetto and Champions League, Lazio’s campaign trajectory is all aimed squarely on this night. They’ve already secured Europa League football and can happily throw all their eggs into this final basket.

Keita’s pace and the strength in the air of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, particularly on set plays, can be deadly weapons against what remains an ageing Juventus defence. Yes, they can read the game like no other, but will we see the same absolute focus they showed against the likes of Barcelona and Monaco? If not, the Treble talk can collapse at the first hurdle.

That’s not to even mention the upcoming match with Crotone, a side who are desperate to avoid relegation and amassed 17 points in seven rounds – more than any other side in that period. If the Bianconeri are rotating the squad in the hope of simply bullying their way to three points, that could be a huge mistake. It’d also leave the Scudetto hanging in the balance to the final round at Bologna, a team with nothing to play for, but with revitalised confidence lately.

It’s too easy to stay committed and focused against Real Madrid. Lazio, and Crotone, will be no pushovers and Juventus cannot take this lightly.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
@mmmmmm: likes of Mario Lemina, Stefano Sturaro and Kwadwo Asamoah are far from formidable specially against sides like Roma or Napoli. You probably didn't watch the game against Torino either or you could know Juve should have won with 4-5 goals... It's called fixture management... there are times that you have to get your foot of the gas to be prepared for more important occasions, more so when you have room for errors with 7-8 points lead. You don't know what you are talking about.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 8:00pm
I tried to remember the last time Juve had 2 defeats in a row but I couldn't. Juve will absolutely take this match seriously.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 4:20pm
and up front the second you remove one of the starting 3 you have to replace them with a mid. But overall I'm cool with a loss to roma to rest players for tonight. after all if we don't manage one point from crotone and bolognia especially when crotone is home, then we don't deserve the title.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 2:18pm
from our typical fort of a defense only one guy was still there (bonucci) and as much as people say we're deep it's really not the case. our defense is fairly deep at first glance but asamoah is utterly atrocious and I want him gone, benatia hasn't gotten that much playing time so was a tad rusty and I haven't seen rugani in ages. oh also lemina is horrendous, sturaro is not far behind and Rincon is also on that level.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 2:15pm
It's been a disappointing month in Serie A but let's keep it real. atalanta and torino were between WAY more important UCL games and against roma when I saw the line-up I said oh o so we're going to loose. Scoring the first goal changed my mind for all of 2 minutes till the equalizer came about. and then it still took some lucky breaks for them to score 3 (wtf was el sharaways goal ?)
on the 17th May, 2017 at 2:12pm
All they had to do was avoid defeat against Roma and they could not even manage that. That stinks of being poor (by Juve's standards). Allegri must have underestimated Roma to field a weakened team - which is not a smart move at this stage of the season. Just have to hope that Khedira recovers in time for the CL final and no more injuries between now and 3rd of June.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 1:52pm
Rez. Roma was without it's capocannoniere, Perrotti was our striker, Strootman was suspended,Nainggolan was not 100%. Not to mention the Totti drama. Give credit when it's due. Juve will win the tittle, but not in our house Like Buffon said: "Only losers make excuses. Hoof lick in the CL
on the 17th May, 2017 at 12:28pm
people talk of juves depth and strength, they play their only three strikers every game, and in midfield, lamina, sturaro, Rincon,asamoah an ageing defence albeit wonderful, there are problems ahead. Madrid, Barca truly have great players on the bench, Juve have a good but then it starts to look quite poor, I am concerned. It was a poor selection against roma, allegri should have went with his best
on the 17th May, 2017 at 12:20pm
@Rez no we played poorly and that's it. Watched all 3 games we didn't have a spark for more than 30 minutes. Juventus have the reserves that are formidable players for most of Serie A, so no excuses there also.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 12:00pm
Well a classic Susy blog... makes it sound like Juve have been playing with full squad but been lacking concentration and commitment. Atalanta were lucky to get a point, plus that game and the following week against Torino were sandwiched between tough games against a solid team like Monaco. The line up against Roma was far away from our best starting 11 worsened by bunch of injuries in the midfield. It's just the timing that is giving you the illusion reflected in your blog.
on the 17th May, 2017 at 9:48am
We will beat Juventus tonight!! We will ruin the treble talk, Juve will do a double but not the Coppa that is ours, Forza Lazio!
on the 17th May, 2017 at 9:34am
Juve have been very poor in their last three league games. Its as if they want to put in the minimum amount of effort to wrap up the scudetto. They need to switch back on and realize that they REALLY 'have won nothing yet'. In a way I am glad they lost to Roma so that the alarm bells start ringing in their heads. As the saying goes: "It is theirs to lose".
on the 17th May, 2017 at 9:14am

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