Juventus - Udinese Preview: Antonio Conte's side seek first Serie A victory of 2013
Having secured only one point from a possible six since the winter break, the Old Lady will look to get back to winning ways against Francesco Guidolin's in-form side
By Max Bentley
Caceres, Barzagli, Bonucci
Lichtsteiner, Pirlo, Vidal, Pogba, Isla
Danilo, Domizzi, Heurtaux
Basta, Pinzi, Lazzari, Pereyra, Pasquale
Di Natale, Muriel
Juventus go in search of their first league victory of 2013 when they face Udinese. Since the winter break, the Old Lady have seen their eight-point lead cut to just three after they suffered a shock 2-1 loss at home to 10-man Sampdoria which was followed by last week's 1-1 away draw with Parma.
Antonio Conte has a few injury concerns ahead of Saturday's clash with Fabio Quagliarella and midfield duo Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal all set to undergo late fitness tests. The game is expected to come too soon for Claudio Marchisio who only returned to light training earlier this week.
The Juventus coach is expected to make several changes from the side which dropped two points at Parma, with Mirko Vucinic, Mauricio Isla and Luca Marrone all pushing for starting berths. Paul Pogba is expected to continue in central midfield while Sebastian Giovinco is poised to once again lead the front line.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin is forced to make one change from the team that defeated Fiorentina 3-1 as first-choice goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic is set for a short spell on the sidelines having fractured his finger. Daniele Padelli will therefore take his place between the sticks.
The Zebrette coach will be hoping that Antonio Di Natale will be fit; the 35-year-old striker has not trained all week due to illness. Thomas Heurtaux will once again fill in for Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations whilst Brazilian midfielder Allan could start after his impressive cameo against Fiorentina.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- In the reverse fixture back in September, Juventus cruised to a 4-1 victory with goals from Vidal, Vucinic and Giovinco (2) in a game which also saw Udinese goalkeeper Brkic sent off. Juventus are the only side to have won at the Friuli this season.
- Juventus host the best defensive record in the league, having conceded only 14 goals from 20 matches.
- The Old Lady have an impressive head-to-head home record against the Zebrette, winning 28 of the 38 previous encounters (W28 D4 L6).
- Udinese are unbeaten in their last six Serie A matches but have only secured two wins away from home this season.
- Saturday's showdown will be Francesco Guidolin's 500th Serie A match in charge. The 57-year-old coach has never led a side to a clean sheet in Turin.
- Antonio Di Natale is the second-highest goalscorer in Serie A this season, tied on 14 goals with AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy. Only Napoli's Edison Cavani has notched more league goals (16).
Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 2-0 Udinese
- 19.93 %
Juventus 2-1 Udinese
- 12.98 %
Juventus 3-1 Udinese
- 12.87 %
|Serie A (SR-A)||01-Dec-2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0|
|Serie A (SR-A)||20-Jan-2013||Juventus 4 - Udinese 0|
|Serie A (SR-A)||02-Sep-2012||Udinese 1 - Juventus 4|
|Serie A (SR-A)||29-Jan-2012||Juventus 2 - Udinese 1|
|Serie A (SR-A)||21-Dec-2011||Udinese 0 - Juventus 0|
|11-Dec-2013||Galatasaray 1 - Juventus 0||UCL|
|07-Dec-2013||Bologna 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|01-Dec-2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||SR-A|
|28-Nov-2013||Juventus 3 - Copenhagen 1||UCL|
|24-Nov-2013||Livorno 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|10||Antonio Di Natale||Striker|