Allegri’s final shot at silverware, Vlahovic in need of a goal, pressure on Inzaghi and Dybala’s last decisive outing for the Old Lady… The key talking points as Juventus and Inter Milan prepare to lock horns in the Coppa Italia final
- Juventus and Inter Milan are set to collide in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday
- The two rivals are both under pressure heading into their Stadio Olimpico battle
- Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri is at risk of ending the season without a trophy
- Simone Inzaghi will have also failed this season if he doesn’t prevail in the final
- Dusan Vlahovic is lacking confidence after going three weeks without a goal
- The final could also be Paulo Dybala’s last big appearance as a Juventus player
It may not be the biggest prize Italian football has to offer, but for both Juventus and Inter Milan the stakes are still high heading into their clash in the Coppa Italia final.
On Wednesday night the two great rivals will do battle at the Stadio Olimpico 57 years after they last collided in this famous showpiece. And their latest duel could play out in one of two ways.
For Inter, victory in Rome will confirm what is slowly appearing to be a changing of the guard between the two sides, given Juve have now finished behind them in the last two Serie A campaigns.
Juventus and Inter Milan are set to lock horns in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday night
The stakes are high for both sides heading into their battle at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome
As for the Old Lady, Wednesday’s final may be the perfect puzzle to bring out their true colours after an underwhelming past 12 months.
It promises to be a gripping encounter, and Sportsmail are on hand with the key talking points ahead of this year’s Coppa Italia final.
Two managers under pressure
Massimiliano Allegri and Simone Inzaghi both have the opportunity to save their respective seasons on Wednesday night. Defeat for either manager would leave them staring the grim prospect of a trophy-less campaign directly in the face.
By claiming the Coppa Italia, Inzaghi can relieve himself of some pressure amid Inter’s fierce title joust with rivals AC Milan, who sit two points clear of them at the top of Serie A with as many games remaining.
It would be a major disappointment if his side ended the campaign empty handed, making this final even more important.
Massimiliano Allegri (L) and Simone Inzaghi (R) are under pressure to claim the trophy
Over in Turin, Allegri would draw further criticism for a perceived failure to implement a free-flowing and fluid style of play if Juve come unstuck here.
The Italian has endured an underwhelming season back at the club after returning last summer, crashing out of the Champions League and falling by the wayside in the title race.
Two coaches with contrasting footballing philosophies will pit their wits against each other at the Olimpico; with the obsessive and superstitious Inzaghi’s dynamic 3-5-2 system up against Allegri’s rigid 4-4-2 setup packed with experience.
Vlahovic can save Allegri
One of Allegri’s most important tasks at Juventus is to bring the best back out of Dusan Vlahovic, the £62million striker who has now gone four games without a goal.
Question marks have risen over his management of Vlahovic, with many of the opinion that Juve’s ‘horizontal football’ and lack of directness does not fit his style.
Dusan Vlahovic also heads into it without a goal in his last four appearances for the Old Lady
The £62million striker can save both Allegri and Juventus’ season by rediscovering his form
However, on Wednesday night the Serbian has the chance to save Allegri from a failure of a campaign. He must put aside his struggles of the last month and rediscover the explosive form which saw him bag six goals in his first 11 Serie A outings for Juve.
If he is firing on all cylinders in Rome Juve will stand a much greater chance of toppling Inter, clinching the Coppa Italia and landing £3million in prize money.
Allegri getting the best out of Vlahovic and building a team around him could be a decisive factor in his future with the Old Lady, who will not stand for their marquee January arrival proving unsuccessful.
Though while most fans place the blame for his recent struggles directly at the manager’s door, it should be remembered that Juve’s midfield is their worst of the last decade. Allegri asked for Miralem Pjanic to return because of this and his request fell on deaf ears, but it is an area that needs strengthening this summer.
The Juve boss needs to show he is capable of building a team around their marquee arrival
Inter will head into Wednesday’s final as the favourites, having won nine of their last 13 matches in all competitions and while sat nine points ahead of their arch-enemy in the Serie A table.
Lautaro Martinez, Ivan Perisic and Hakan Calhanoglu have been particularly impressive for the Nerazzurri over the past two months, helping them recover from a disastrous February to find energy and record some precious victories.
Their biggest weapon against Juve comes in the shape of Martinez, who is on fire right now after scoring seven goals in his last five outings – including a vital brace in their semi-final second leg win over Milan.
Unlike Vlahovic and Paulo Dybala, the Argentine has proven capable of making a difference in crucial matches and could well be the difference in Rome.
Inter are in solid form at the minute after winning nine of their last 13 games in all competitions
Lautaro Martinez, with seven goals in his last five matches, will be their biggest weapon
Last hurrah for Dybala
The Olimpico showpiece will also be an emotional occasion for Dybala, who is gearing up for the last decisive match of his Juventus career.
The Argentina midfielder will be leaving Juve upon the expiry of his contract this summer, bringing an end to his seven-year stint in Turin.
He can go out on a high by inspiring Allegri’s men to victory on Wednesday, as well as put himself in the shop window with a host of potential suitors eyeing a free transfer.
Inter are understood to be one of them, with CEO Giuseppe Marotta recently hinting at a move for their rivals’ outgoing star.
‘In my opinion Dybala is an excellent striker, everyone knows that he is on the free list and therefore is attractive to many clubs,’ he said.
Paulo Dybala will want to end his seven-year Juve career on a high in the Olimpico final
‘We have an excellent attacking department, we are the team that has scored the most goals and we don’t have any major problems.
‘The Nerazzurri market will have sacrifices, we have a good coach who has gained experience this year, we have a team of players who are a positive factor. In Italy it is unthinkable to make heavy investments, we are inclined to thrift: we need to find functional players.’
Another Juventus player heading for the exit this summer is defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini.
Given he has spent 17 years at the club, the 37-year-old’s departure will likely hit harder than that of Dybala’s, and he will be even more desperate to end his iconic Juve stint with a final piece of silverware in Rome.
Three months shy of his 38th birthday Chiellini is right to call time on his career at the top level and head to a less competitive league such as MLS, where he could receive a millionaire’s contract for a couple of years.
In July he will wave goodbye to the Old Lady with 20 major trophies in the bag, and victory on Wednesday will increase that departing number to 21.
Giorgio Chiellini is also departing this summer and will hope to do so with 21 major trophies
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