It almost makes perfect sense in this season of stupidity and things we can’t truly explain because the world is essentially on fire for one reason or another that the next game after Juventus gets dismantled by their arch-rivals is ... a glorified friendly.
Like, sure, there’s a trophy at stake and that’s cool, I guess.
But when you think of ways to try and pump up the squad again after a truly disappointing and soul-crushing kind of loss like Sunday night’s was, having a game that doesn’t mean anything in the standings isn’t exactly the biggest draw.
(Or maybe my exuberance for Juventus has been zapped for the time being, I dunno.)
No matter what, Juventus is back on the field tonight all of three days after the mess that was the second trip to the San Siro in the month of January. And, for the first time this season, Juventus will face Napoli and everything that comes along with old pals Andrea Pirlo and Rino Gattuso facing one another for the first time as managers. Originally scheduled to be played in Saudi Arabia — because Serie A loves a good money grab when it can get one! — tonight’s Supercoppa has been relocated to Reggio Emilia and the Mapei Stadium due to the pandemic and everything that has come along with it.
So, now, at a stadium and a one-off glorified friendly that hasn’t always been kind to Juventus in recent years — well, the men’s team anyway — Pirlo’s squad will try to get back on the horse 72 hours after Antonio Conte dropped kicked them right into the mud.
What will Juventus’ response to this latest defeat be?
How will the team approach this game knowing their opponent is playing rather well lately?
Just how can a Juventus team that has played a lot of minutes over the last couple of weeks without much rotation manage what is going to be one of their toughest fixtures of the month?
We’re about to find out.
And hopefully, unlike over the weekend, there’s a little positivity to come out of this. That sure would be nice — yes, even if this trophy to come out of a glorified friendly isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
Where: Mapei Stadium, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. Eastern Time; 12 p.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (3-4-1-2/4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, Chiellini, Danilo; Chiesa, Bentancur, Arthur, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Buffon, Ramsey, Morata, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, Fagioli, Ranocchia
Napoli starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo; Manolas, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Bakayoko, Demme; Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Petagna
Napoli bench: Meret, Contini, Elmas, Mertens, Llorente, Maksimovic, Politano, Hysaj, Ghoulam, Rrahmani, Cioffi, Lobotka
HOW TO WATCH
Television: ESPN2 (United States); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); RAI Uno (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (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.