Coppa Italia final PREVIEW | Atalanta v Juventus

On Wednesday a new Coppa Italia champion will be crowned, and next season that team will wear the ‘Coccarda’ winner’s patch, as Serie A giants Juventus take on Atalanta.

Inter won the trophy last year, defeating Fiorentina thanks to a Lautaro Martínez double in the final. This season they may have won the league, but Italy’s domestic final returns with two new competitors; Atalanta and Juventus.

It’s fair to say that the form of both teams couldn’t be more different coming into this clash. Juventus are on a dismal run and have just three wins from 17 games in all competitions. Atalanta on the other hand have six wins from their last seven games, their only draw in that period coming away to Marseille of course; part of an aggregate victory that has sent them to a first ever European Cup final in Dublin this month.

Atalanta beat Roma 2-1 at home on Sunday night, which gave them a firm grip on Champions League qualification, but it also confirmed that Juventus would play in Europe’s premier competition next season.

Despite that, Juventus drew at home to relegated Salernitana on the same day. Their fanbase is fuming and their coach Massimiliano Allegri looks like he will be off in the summer. Thiago Motta of Bologna has been tipped to replace him, but Bologna will be in next season’s UCL too, so perhaps he would be mad to jump onto what seems like a sinking ship.

Juventus are still Juventus though, and we are talking about a football match of 90 minutes. Atalanta have won the national trophy once before in 1963, but Juventus are record winners having won it 14 times, and five times in the last nine years.

The weight of the badge comes into it on occasions like this. Form says an easy win for Atalanta, but history says the opposite.

Juventus defeated Atalanta in the 2021 Coppa Italia final too. 2-1 was the final score. Juventus were a better side back then, and the Atalanta team has almost completely changed too, but in a cup final with the nation watching, some clubs might always feel more comfortable than others.

The greatest example of this is perhaps the most exaggerated; Real Madrid in the Champions League. Everybody knows that they have consistently won games because of the self-fulfilling prophecy that is Real Madrid in Europe. Form, quality and opponent can all be thrown out the window and Real Madrid will still win games they shouldn’t. There might not be a tactical or technical explanation but these things happen in football.

If Atalanta are to unleash a historical giant killing on a team, who at the moment they certainly have the beating of, then perhaps there will never be a better opportunity than now. La Dea are dancing in dreamland as Juventus find themselves stuck in the mud.

Atalanta will be wary of Juventus’ quality though, even if it has been dormant for a while. The Old lady will be more than aware of how good Atalanta have been this season themselves. The sides already drew twice against each other in the league, so don’t expect there to be much between them in this cup final. However Atalanta are too good to not create chances against this Juve team, enough to win the game, let’s see if they can take them.

 

Joseph O’Sullivan | GIFN

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