Italian Super Cup

 Juventus – Napoli  

Serie A champions Juventus and Coppa Italia winners Napoli are set to square off at Beijing National Stadiumin an attempt to win the first trophy of the season.

The Bianconeri have surprised everyone by winning the Scudetto last term, but following heavy summer spending they are now in a good position to defend the league title.

The Old Lady may have stayed without Alex Del Piero, Milos Krasic and Eljero Elia, but they signed Sebastian Giovinco, Maurizio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah, Lucio, Paul Pogba and Richmond Boakye, making sure they remain competitive this season.

The boss decided to take no less than 27 players to China, leaving Michele Pazienza, and injured Martin Caceres and Giorgio Chiellini in Torino.

Antonio Conte, who will be watching the match from the stands, could make a couple of surprises when naming his starting line-up, but he should, nonetheless, field a very strong team.

 

Last season proved somewhat disappointing for Napoli as they finished the league campaign in 5th place and missed the chance to reach the final stages of the Champions League, but the Coppa Italia triumph really saved the season for Walter Mazzarri’s side.

The squad have since undergone some changes, with Ezequiel Lavezzi joining PSG and Alessandro Gamberini and Valon Behrami added to the side at San Paolo.

Napoli have been in scintillating form during pre-season, beating the likes of Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Bordeaux and Sporting Braga..

Edinson Cavani returned to the squad following a disappointing exit from the 2012 Olympics, and he is in contention for a starting place.

Kitchee – Arsenal

Arsenal squad: Mannone, Miquel, Aneke, Eisfeld, Chamakh, Ryo, Eastmond, Yennaris, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Gibbs, Song, Fabianski, Jenkinson, Walcott, Szczesny, Djourou, Afobe, Vermaelen, Diaby, Santos, Gervinho, Arteta, Bartley.

Probably line up Obrázek : (4-5-1) Mannone – Jenkinson, Djorou, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Song, Diaby, Arteta, Walcott, Santos – Gervinho

Missing: Sagna, Frimpong, Wilshere, Rosický, Podolski, Giroud, Van Persie

Didier Drogba set to snub Chinese and join Barcelona

Former Chelsea striker said to be talking terms with Barca only days after signing for Shanghai Shenhua

COULD the former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba (pictured) be about to snub Shanghai Shenhua for Barcelona? According to the Daily Mail, Drogba is close to finalising the “astonishing transfer” just days after it was announced the 34-year-old Ivorian was taking up a lucrative contract in the Chinese Super League.

The Mail claims that Drogba will jet into Barcelona today to meet the club’s board and discuss terms. On the question of his commitment to Shanghai Shenhua, the paper explains that there was a bizarre clause in the contract allowing Drogba to “leave at no cost to move to Barcelona only”.

Last week he said he was “looking forward to a new challenge” in China but it’s believed he has found the advances of Barcelona impossible to resist.

Juventus are said to be “monitoring” Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after giving up the ghost on Robin van Persie. The Italian club had hoped earlier in the summer to take the Dutchman off Arsenal’s hands but according to Talksport they now realise they have as much hope of that happening as Ashley Young has of hitting the target. So instead Juventus have turned their attention to Suarez.

Talksport claims that the reigning Italian champions will offer Liverpool £14.5m for the South American striker, while also throwing in Serbian winger Milos Krasic. The 27-year-old Krasic was apparently on Kenny Dalglish’s radar before he got the chop in May, and it’s not known if new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers likes the cut of the Serb’s jib.

In other news the Metro reports that Chelsea have concluded that while Biblical Moses might have come down from the mountain Victor Moses isn’t going to come down from Wigan. The Blues had been chasing the Latics winger for a while, but have decided it’s not worth the hassle after Wigan chairman Dave Whelan started playing hardball.

Instead the reigning European champions are eyeing up Andre Schurrle. The Bayer Leverkusen winger, currently with the German squad at Euro 2012, has been given the once over by Chelsea scouts and the Metro says the club are “considering testing the water with an £7 million bid”.

That won’t be enough, apparently, with the German outfit rumoured to be holding out for around £15m. The 21-year-old Schurrle, first capped by his country in 2010, has also aroused interest at AC Milan and Bayern Munich.

Elsewhere and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has rubbished suggestions that the club might be willing to offload left-back Aleksandar Kolarov this summer. The Serbian defender arrived at the Etihad in 2010 but, like an England midfielder, has struggled to make any impact.

Rumours emerged at the end of last season that the 26-year-old might be seeking an exit from the Sky Blues. But in an interview with Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24, Mancini said: “Kolarov is a great left-back and I would like to keep him.”

Can City also keep hold of striker Edin Dzeko? According to German rag Bild, the Sky Blues might give the Bosnian frontman to Bayern Munich in return for Arjen Robben. The Dutchman has been unsettled at Bayern for a while now and after a lacklustre Euro 2012 Robben’s future is on the line. “It is possible that Arjen is leaving Bayern,”Bild quotes Robben’s father Hans as saying.

Robben, who enjoyed a spell at Chelsea a few seasons back, signed a new deal at Bayern last season but Bild believes the Dutchman wants to return to the Premier League. ·