Juventus vs. Napoli: Serie a Champions Will Not Win the Coppa Italia
Juventus enters today's Coppa Italia as the Serie A champions and with an undefeated streak, but that streak ends today.
Napoli may have taken a step backwards this season with their failure to qualify for next year's UEFA Champions League, as well as a fifth-place finish in Serie A, but that just means they will come into today's cup game with a chip on their shoulders.
Napoli is just one season removed from finishing third in the Serie A table, and they still have one of the deadliest attacking forces in the league with Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who combined for 32 of their team's goals this season.
Their opponents are skilled on defense, but without star defender Giorgio Chiellini today, the Juventus defense will not be at full strength. Juve may still be the favorites even without Chiellini, but now Lavezzi, Cavani and the rest of Napoli's attackers have a clear weakness to exploit.
Cavani is already leading the tournament in goals with four so far, and with Chiellini on the sidelines, he could easily add to that number.
Decorated retired defender Fabio Cannavaro recently commented on the upcoming match to Tuttosport, explaining what his brother Paolo's Napoli team needs to do to win:
Former Napoli and Juventus defender: Fabio Cannavaro
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
"Napoli will have to be able to harass the three midfield players of Juventus, [Andrea] Pirlo in particular. I expect a major contribution from [Marek] Hamsik as he is skilled in both defense and offense."
Juventus may not have the older Cannavaro's confidence today, but they have all the stats in their favor, the Serie A title already in their possession. With so much already accomplished, Juventus could easily enter this match as an overconfident bunch.
The Bianconeri defeated Napoli back in the beginning of April which could lead to Juve taking Napoli lightly what with all of the success Juventus has seen in recent weeks.
While Juventus has deservedly been grabbing the soccer headlines in Italy, Napoli has lost just two matches since their defeat to their Coppa Italia opponents. Juve isn't the only team coming into the final on a hot streak.
Napoli may be the underdogs in this bout today, but as Chelsea showed everyone yesterday with their improbable Champions League victory, the underdogs have just as good a chance to hoist the trophy.
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