COPPA ITALIA FINAL : JUVENTUS - NAPOLI ( written 16.00 saturday)
I am really looking forward to this game, the earlier meeting between the two at the Stadio San Paolo was a six goal thriller and many considered it the best Serie A game of the season, it was certainly at least top two in my opinion. A repeat would do very nicely thank you ! I definitely feel that we see goals, Juve have won the title with a game based around the best defence, but will be without Giorgio Chiellini who rarely misses a game and who scooped most of the best defender awards this season, the Old Lady have won just one of the last six games he has not started. Also missing is fellow defender Paolo De Ceglie and star keeper, Gianluigi Buffon, with the best record in Europe this season ( a goals allowed record of sub 0.5 per game) is said to be stepping aside to let Marco Storari take his place between the sticks. The back up keeper has made seven starts this season, all have gone "over" with a 3.43 goal average and he has kept just one cleansheet, twice conceding two or more, which considering Juve's defensive record is a positively criminal ! Juve have been imperious this season and have posted the first undefeated record ( 23-15-0) in the top flight for two decades, this evening they say goodbye to Alessandro Del Piero who been the favourite Juve son of all favourite son's, a world class footballer for most of his 19 years at the club he loves. To complete the league and cup double in his last start would be a fitting tribute and if it was to come in a "thriller", then so much the better. Juve have taken the game to most of the better teams in A this season, scoring 25 goals in eleven starts against what I consider the big four opponents, Inter, Milan, Roma and Napoli, at least one in each and two or more goals in nine games.
Napoli will not be giving anything away easily, this is the chance for some silverware for them and compensation after they threw that Champions League spot away, they will also be saying goodbye to a star or two in this game I would guess and will have 35,000 fanatical supporters cheering them on and good luck to the local police handling that lot ! The Azzurri last played in this stadium three weeks ago and performed wonderfully well, scoring two against Roma and it could / should have been four. They will take heart from that and the three they scored in the home fixture between these two, a match where Marek Hamsik also missed an early penalty. They will miss Walter Gargano and the protection he gives to the backline this evening. Last 20 h2h meetings have averaged 3.45 goals , last four cup games an even higher 5.25 and at least one team has scored three or more, 12 times in the last 15 meetings. Given the defensive problems/ changes for Juve and the attacking threat both teams pose, it is very hard not to see goals in this, the "over" appeals at circa 2.09 as does the up to 19.0 for over 5.5 goals for the truly adventurous of you out there and I might "waste" a little on that, but my main bet will be Napoli to score two or more goals at a very attractive 3.50 which I will take for 1.25 units .
Alessandro Del Piero has left us with many memories, highlight for me was LINK .