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Coppa Italia Final Preview: Juventus vs. AC Milan

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Big game. Very big game with a trophy at stake!

Juventus v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus are about 180 minutes from completing their latest domestic double. That’s the simplest way to put it. In one of those games, they need all of a single point to win the Scudetto. To ensure that it is a domestic double, though, Juventus are going to need to win the game that stands immediately in front of them before they even have a chance to get that one remaining point needed.

The Coppa Italia final is here again.

And, luckily for us, we will get to see Juventus play in the Coppa Italia once again.

For the fourth straight season, Juventus are playing for the trophy that goes to the winner of Italy’s lone domestic tournament. Just as it was two years ago in 2016, Juventus’ opponent in the Coppa Italia final will be Milan. Yes, the same Milan side that we just saw Juve play —and beat 3-1 at Allianz Stadium — just about five weeks ago.

Around that time, the talk was about Leonardo Bonucci playing his first game in Turin after his much-discussed summer transfer last July. The fact that Juventus still had a spot in the Champions League — remember, the first leg against Real Madrid, the one where Juve laid an absolute egg, was just a couple of days after Milan’s visit to Turin — was also something of major note.

This time, though, it’s about one thing.

It’s about the Coppa Italia.

I think we can all agree that this tournament isn’t necessarily the same kind of level as the other tournament Juventus was a part of the last time Milan was the opposition. (Comparing the Coppa Italia to the Champions League is like saying Bud Light is even comparable to something like your favorite local mircobrew.) And if we all had to choose, Juve doing the double would be ending a European drought that is getting closer and closer to being three decades old.

But, this is a trophy.

And I like when Juventus wins trophies.

And in the next five days, Juventus can secure themselves not one, but two trophies.

And — MOAR ANDS! — they can do so by beating Milan and Roma.

Oh my goodness that is like the icing on the cake right there.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Juventus v Bologna FC - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

1) Can somebody other than Douglas Costa provide an attacking spark?

Not that I’m opposed to Douglas Costa doing Douglas Costa things like he showed once again in his off-the-bench starring role this past weekend, but...

It sure would be nice to see somebody else do some good things, too.

You know, like a couple of select Argentines who just so happen to get their paychecks signed by Andrea Agnelli every week or two.

I would like to think that a lot of us would love for Juve’s attack to look a lot like it did once Costa came on over the weekend against Bologna. Say what you want about it being against Bologna, but the amount of space Costa was able to create as the opposition was dropping numbers back as it defended a lead and then a draw spoke to just how much he did in all of one half of play.

It opened up looks for Dybala.

It opened up looks for just about everybody who was in and around the 18-yard box.

Costa is in the kind of form that has resulted in goals for both him and his teammates. And while there may not be time left in this season to see Dybala or Higuain go on some of the crazy scoring streaks or runs like they’ve had earlier in the year, but closing things on a high note would be a pretty decent alternative.

2) Can Juventus please mark Leonardo Bonucci on a set piece?

I mean, come on.

It’s not that difficult.

But this is Juventus and set pieces here, so maybe it is that difficult.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

3) What the heck is Juventus’ defense going to look like?

A lot of the time over recent years, this area of the starting lineup has seemed pretty self explanatory — especially in games where there’s going to be a trophy handed out after 90 or so minutes worth of game time.

However...

Juventus’ starting defense the last couple of weekends has looked anything close to what we’re used to. There’s been a right winger at right back. There’s been a lack of Giorgio Chiellini. (He has done quite a bit of coaching from the sideline, though.) It’s been more of a revolving door with players going in and out rather than a concrete and consistent group of four players the same time out.

It seems likely that Juan Cuadrado will again be at right back with Stephan Lichtsteiner essentially a bench option these days and Mattia De Sciglio just back from his latest injury absence. We know the race for the two center backs comes down to three men — Daniele Rugani, Andrea Barzagli and Medhi Benatia. And it seems like it’s a guessing game at this point who’s starting at left back on a game-by-game basis.

So, basically, Cuadrado is the only one I’d consider a lock to start.

At right back.

What a time to be alive, my friends.

MY STARTING LINEUP

Juventus XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Buffon; Juan Cuadrado, Daniele Rugani, Medhi Benatia, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi; Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Douglas Costa

MATCH INFO

When: Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

Kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy; 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. on the East Coast; 12 p.m. high noon on the West Coast

HOW TO WATCH

Television: GOLTV, GOLTV Español (United States); Sky Sport Football (United Kingdom); RAI Uno (Italy)

Online/Mobile: fuboTV (United States); Sky GO UK, Sky GO Extra (United Kingdom); RAI Play (Italy)

Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.

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