The new format of the Italian Super Cup will be played in Saudi Arabia January 18 to 22 . Never before had more than two teams participated, only the respective winners of the Italian Championship and the Coppia Italia. The new format includes four teams, which are chosen from the top two positioned at the end of the last Serie A (in this case, Napoli and Lazio) and the two finalists of the last edition of the Italian Cup (Internazionale and Fiorentina).
There will be three matches: two semi-finals and the final. The two semi-finals are Napoli-Fiorentina and Inter-Lazio and will be played respectively on Thursday Jan.18 and Friday Jan. 19, while the final will be played at the Al-Awwal Stadium in Riyadh on Monday Jan. 22.
Let's look in detail some considerations on the four participating teams.
1. ACF Fiorentina
ACF Fiorentina is not seen , at the starting blocks, as the favorite of the competition. Yet we must not overlook some important elements. First of all, the team coached by Vincenzo Italiano has gained significant experience regarding direct elimination matches. Last season, the Tuscan team reached, although lost, two finals: one in the Italian Cup (against Inter) and one in the UEFA Conference League (against West Ham). In short, there will be no desire to repeat itself.
Furthermore, the Viola team is one of the most balanced from a tactical point of view. Their strong points are free kicks and pressing, both in the defensive and offensive phases, allowing for a rapid recovery of the ball. On the contrary, a weakness is scoring in relation to the quantity of opportunities created. In fact, none of the forwards used in recent seasons have yet proved capable of worthily replacing Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic.
2. SSC Napoli
SSC Napoli is not managing to repeat the extraordinary results and technical performances that amazed all of Europe last year and which culminated with the long-awaited Scudetto, a goal achieved only twice in the course of its entire history and in both cases thanks to the decisive contribution of the Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona.
Some of the factors that led to this drastic drop in performance can be identified in the sale of the South Korean defender Kim Min-Jae, who was named the best defender of the last Italian championship, and in the farewell of the coach Luciano Spalletti, one of the best Italian technicians of recent years.
Furthermore, it must be kept in mind the Africa Cup of Nations, the most important football competition between African national teams, is currently taking place. Therefore, two really important starters, such as midfielder Andrè Zambo Anguissa and striker Victor Osimhen, will not be available. In particular, Osimhen's absence is significant considering the Nigerian striker is currently one of the most decisive in the game.
3. SS Lazio
The Biancoceleste team was the protagonist of a considerable string of consecutive victories in Serie A, which allowed them to get closer to the coveted fourth place which would guarantee participation in the next UEFA Champions League.
There is nothing more exciting and invigorating for one of the capital's teams, be it AS Roma or SS Lazio, than winning a derby. The Biancoceleste team achieved the important victory in the Italian Cup derby which allowed Lazio to access the next round and consequently eliminate their city rivals.
Perhaps, being able to count on this emotional enthusiasm, as stated above, a valid solution could be found to bridge the technical gap against one's opponent, Internazionale.
The condition of the team's offensive leader, Ciro Immobile, is of concern, as he is experiencing one of the most difficult seasons of his career, both from a physical point of view, due to various injuries, and in terms of goals scored.
4. FC Internazionale
The favorites to win the Super Cup, both according to bookmakers and sports journalists and simple fans.
The Neroazzurri , at the moment, represents the best equipped of the Italian football teams. Intern is leading a real steamroller's path in the championship. They suffered just one defeat, a completely unexpected one against US Sassuolo. Some Serie A statistics are very significant: Inter is the team that has scored the most goals (49) and conceded the fewest (10); Lautaro Martinez is the current top scorer (18 goals in 18 games played), while his attacking partner, Marcus Thuram, is the one who has made the most decisive assists (7).
Note: Inter is the current holder of the title, having won the last two editions. In particular, Inter dominated the previous final, a clear 3-0 win over bitter rivals, AC Milan.