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Wednesday January 16 2019
A Supercoppa like no other

Juventus may have thrashed Milan in the Coppa Italia Final last season, but Daryl Hammond expects a different kind of affair when they rematch in Jeddah on Wednesday…

If League form over the past five years wasn’t already the biggest indicator of the ever-growing gap between Juventus and Milan, the 2018 Coppa Italia Final might be.

Even without Giorgio Chiellini and Gonzalo Higuain, the Bianconeri flattened Milan, scoring four in a dominant second-half display. And as far as the League goes that fosse still exists, with Juve 22 points clear of the Rossoneri at the halfway stage of the season.

But with major changes to both squads since that meeting at the Olimpico, Milan will hope to have narrowed the gap as the two meet on foreign shores for the Supercoppa Italiana.

One move that was supposed to both strengthen them and weaken their rivals was the acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain. A proven scorer in Italy, he netted better than a goal every other game for Juventus, bagging 55 times during his two years in Turin. Yet with eight goals this season and only one in his last 11 games, that reputation is under threat.

Officially on loan from the Old Lady, he can make a permanent move next season for €36m. But come next summer he might not even be in the country if rumours are to be believed, with Chelsea reportedly looking to reunite the Argentine with Maurizio Sarri.

While Gennaro Gattuso attempts to fan the flames of discontent, Juve are relaxed in knowing the man they swapped for Higuain (and Mattia Caldara) was already a perfect fit.

Leonardo Bonucci has slotted back into their defence with relative ease after a troubled season at Milan, where he failed to find his feet as Vincenzo Montella interchanged between a back three and four, with little success either way.

It makes a mean Bianconeri defence, which has conceded just 11 goals this season, that much stronger.

One reason we may not see another 4-0 drubbing is that Juve have not scored four goals against anyone so far this term. Allegri’s side put four past city rivals Torino, six at Udinese and seven against Sassuolo en route to the 2017-18 Scudetto.

Despite possessing more attacking firepower, the class of 18-19 are far more conservative in front of goal, with a 3-0 win at Fiorentina their biggest result to date.

That likely comes as Paulo Dybala and co. are still trying to properly integrate €100m signing Cristiano Ronaldo into their game. The Portuguese’s arrival has had a marked difference on both the quality of Juve and their style of play.

Whereas before Dybala and Higuain shared the goalscoring burden, Ronaldo is becoming more and more the focal point of Juve’s attack. Milan, meanwhile, have their own woes in front of goal, failing to score in four of their last five League matches before the winter break and needing extra time to surpass Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia.

As talk of a move for Genoa hitman Kzysztof Piatek continues, they have already signed one wildcard in the form of highly-rated Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta.

Having finalised his €35m switch from Flamengo, he featured for most of their match at Sampdoria. Likely exhausted after a demanding League season in Brazil, however, he may end up playing the role of super-sub.

With Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Biglia and Mattia Caldara injured and Suso suspended, the Diavolo may actually be even weaker than when they were thumped by Juve last May.

The Old Lady, on the other hand, have bolstered both their starting XI and bench since. The two squads, therefore, are every bit as disparate as that 4-0 result sug

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Have your say...
@manny i dont think anyone would be glad to be a milan fan anyway hahaha
on the 18th January, 2019 at 11:09am
Milan unlucky with aluminium. Higuain should play.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 10:47am
@Giancarlo C's Mom
1- Glad you're not Milan fan.
2- How miserable are you to insult people over sports?
on the 18th January, 2019 at 5:36am
Such an ugly play from both sides, especially Milan. If i were a Milan fan, i would not spend my money to watch Milan games. They are horrible. I bet weak Juventus squad in 2007-2010 can beat this Milan too.
on the 16th January, 2019 at 8:54pm
Hahahhahahahha BEAT
on the 16th January, 2019 at 8:32pm

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