With the Serie A set to kick off next Saturday, the Italian Supercup was played on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. In what ended up being a completely one-sided affair, two-time defending Serie A champions Juventus beat Lazio, the reigning Coppa Italia champions, 4-0.
Aside from what ended to be a comfortable win for the Old Lady of Italian Football (which Juventus is also referred to), Juventus made a statement to all those who dare question whether or not the team was going to be ready for the upcoming season and or if they had lost a bit of their ‘edge’.
The answer was a resounding yes. They are ready to defend their league title and make a run at a third consecutive league title; and yes, they do possess that edge which has characterized them as a team under the reign of coach Antonio Conte, and nor will it be lost with him at the helm.
Juventus came out playing in the 3-5-2 formation, and any questions about the effectiveness and ability for them to play well were soon made to look laughable as they took control of the game from the beginning. As Juventus have often done in the Conte era, they controlled possession, and pestered the opposition midfield into losing possession of the ball quite easily. The wing backs found themselves making unimpeded runs into the final third when Juventus were in control of possession. Even when Claudio Marchisio had to leave the game midway in the first half due to injury and Paul Pogba came on, Juventus appeared to actually improve its play in the final attacking third.
Pogba made his presence felt as he gave Juventus a 1-0 lead as a result of his strike from the top of the penalty area. While Juventus slowed down a bit in the first half, they cranked it back up in the second half. Within a three-minute period, Juventus scored three times, with the first two goals coming as a result of runs by right wing back Stephan Lichtsteiner.
As the final whistle blew, giving Juventus its sixth Italian Supercup in club history, coach Conte and his players sent a strong message to all those who have been quick to declare their demise. Any doubts and questions about their preseason performance during the International Champions Cup were laid to rest, while the win strengthened their credentials to be favorites to win the Serie A for a third year running.