Juventus take on Derby d’Italia rivals Inter Milan in a bid to claim the first piece of domestic silverware available in the 2021/22 season: the Supercoppa Italiana.
This is Juve’s tenth straight Supercoppa appearance, while Inter haven’t been a part of this game since 2011. For Simone Inzaghi, it’s a brilliant opportunity to snatch his first trophy as Nerazzurri boss. The former Lazio manager has built on the foundations laid by Antonio Conte in Milan superbly with Inter currently top of Serie A amid an eight-game winning run.
They’re the best team in Italy, with the differences between Inzaghi and Conte’s Inter minimal. Last season, we discussed how Juve should go about slowing down the latter’s iteration of the Nerazzurri and we focussed on Inter’s build-up, Romelu Lukaku and mitigating the counter-attack. While Inzaghi’s Inter are markedly similar to the title-winning outfit, there are subtle differences and they provide alternate challenges for opponents.
3 keys to victory for Juventus in the 2022 Supercoppa Italiana
Juventus’ task on Wednesday night is an almighty one considering Inter’s superiority and their own depleted ranks. However, as Massimiliano Allegri alluded to in his pre-match press conference, anything can happen in a one-off game.
Here are three keys to victory for Juve in the 2022 Supercoppa Italiana against Inter Milan.
Disrupt Marcelo Brozovic’s rhythm
I thought Marcelo Brozovic had peaked under Conte but he’s only getting better and better. The Croatian metronome is playing at a level that rivals the very best that Europe has to offer in his position.
He’s the beating heart of this juggernaut, the man that makes everything tick. No player has attempted (81.3 per 90 minutes) or completed (74.7 per 90) more passes than Brozovic in the Inter ranks this term, while his total number of touches (1,668) betters second-highest Alessandro Bastoni by 393!
The holding midfielder was pivotal in ensuring that Conte’s automatisms were persistently efficient, but his importance to Inter’s build-up has increased considerably this season. He takes up several positions in what’s often a 4-2-4 in-possession structure and you’ll frequently see him dropping into defence to escape opposition pressure.
Brozovic is a player Juve must game-plan for. Last season, Andrea Pirlo had some success deploying Dejan Kulusevski, who was functioning as the second striker in a 4-4-2, as Brozovic’s man-marker. The Swede was particularly successful in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg last February. As a result, Allegri might be tempted to deploy Kulusevski on Wednesday and assign him this esoteric task once more.
The latest reports suggest that Paulo Dybala is set to start on the bench, meaning we’re likely to see Kulusevski start and if Juve’s typical 4-4-2 out of possession structure is retained, it’d make sense for either Kulusevski or Federico Bernardeschi to perform a man-marking function on Brozovic.
Slowing down the Croatian is imperative to Juve’s chances of winning this game. Brozovic has the capacity to take the game away from the Bianconeri as a result of the control he exudes in the middle of the park. He’s dictated so many ‘big’ games this season with the latest metronomic masterclass arriving against Lazio on Sunday.