A match full of Eastern promise
Saturday’s match is a repeat of last season’s Italian Cup Final when Juventus ran out extra-time winners against the side from the capital. The Old Lady are bidding for their seventh Supercup victory after narrowly losing out to Napoli in last season’s fixture. Revenge is on the menu for Lazio after their cup final defeat at the hands of Saturday’s opponents as the Biancocelesti go looking for their first win against Juventus since January 2013.
The Old Lady gets a summer makeover
A dramatic summer of change in Turin has seen Juventus lose three of their most influential players. Legendary midfielder Andrea Pirlo has gone stateside to play for New York City FC, last season’s top marksman Carlos Tevez has returned home to Argentina to re-join the club that gave him his start in football, Boca Juniors and Chilean playmaker Arturo Vidal, fresh from winning the Copa America with his country, decided he wanted to play in the Bundesliga, signing for German giants Bayern Munich. As coach Massimo Allegri takes this opportunity to freshen up the squad, the players brought in as replacements have a huge responsibility over the coming nine months.
Paulo Dybala, a young Argentinian striker has arrived from Palermo. He comes with a €32 million price tag on his shoulders and it will be fascinating to see how he performs at the very top level under intense scrutiny. Someone who is used to playing under the spotlight is former Atletico Madrid striker Mario Mandžukić. Having spent last season in Spain and prior to that, two years with Bayern Munich, the 29-year-old knows all about pressurised environments; he will be expected to take over the position of chief goalscorer this season.
German midfielder Sami Khedira who arrives on a free transfer after five seasons at Real Madrid, is a player also experienced in performing in pressure cooker atmospheres.Whilst he doesn’t possess the flair of Pirlo, his combative style should complement a midfield already bristling with talent. Finally, there’s 24-year-old Italian striker Simone Zaza. A product of the Juventus youth academy, he has spent the past two seasons on loan at Sassuolo; his 20 goals in that time has ensured that the club has retained its Serie A status.Having already forced his way into the Italian national team, it’s time for him to display his abundant talents to a much bigger audience.
Lazio’s new young guns
Lazio’s summer has been largely quiet on the transfer front as coach Stefano Pioli scours Europe to pick up exciting young talent at knock down prices. Their biggest summer investment so far has been the highly rated young Dutch striker Ricardo Kishna who has joined from Ajax for €4 million. This exciting 20-year-old is a product of the clubs highly regarded youth academy and is destined for stardom. This season in the Italian capital, he has the chance to work alongside veteran German international Miroslav Klose who has committed himself to Lazio for another year. Kishna is not the only Dutchman heading for the Eternal city this summer with 21-year-old defender Wesley Hoedt arriving on a free transfer from AZ Alkmaar. Then there’s Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savić, another highly rated youngster who has joined the club this week. It’s been a wonderful summer for him, helping the Serbian Under 20 national team win the World Cup.
Juventus have a mini-injury crisis ahead of Saturday’s game. They will be without their Italian international defender Giorgio Chiellini (thigh) new signing Sami Khedira (hamstring) and Spanish striker Alvaro Morata (calf). French international midfielder Paul Pogba has been given the famous number 10 shirt for next season and will almost certainly be the focal point for Juventus in Shanghai.
Lazio have pretty much a full strength side to select from. Dutch international defender Stefan de Vrijhas missed the clubs entire pre-season campaign so far but declared himself fit for the weekend. Young English midfielder Ravel Morrison, who was in explosive form at the start of pre-season, will miss the game after picking up an ankle injury last month. Lazio travelled to the Far East ahead of Juventus in an attempt to get acclimatised to the intense humidity expected in the Shanghai stadium on Saturday evening.
Juventus (4-3-1-2) Buffon; Evra, Bonucci, Caceres, Lichtsteiner; Tello, Marchisio, Pogba; Dybala; Mandžukić, Zaza
Lazio (4-2-3-1) Marchetti; Lulić, Gentiletti, de Vrij, Basta; Parolo, Biglia; Felipe Anderson, Đorđević, Candreva; Klose
Head to Head
The last 10 meetings in all competitions have been dominated by Juventus. Lazio only have the one success (a Coppa Italia fixture in January 2013) to their name. Juventus have won six (including the last three consecutive) which makes them firm favourites with our “football tipsters.” There have been three draws.
Juventus 2.10 Draw 3.30 Lazio 3.50
Selected Goalscorer Markets:
Mandžukić (first) 5.50 (last) 5.50 (anytime) 2.60
Dybala (first) 6.00 (last) 6.00 (anytime) 2.75
Đorđević (first) 7.50 (last) 7.50 (anytime) 3.25
Klose (first) 7.50 (last) 7.50 (anytime) 3.25
Odds courtesy of Bet365
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)