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4 vs 4
Played
January 9, 2011 2:00 PM GMT
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza — Milano
Referee:‬ P. Valeri‎
Attendance:‬ 39405‎
 

Serie A Preview: Milan - Udinese

The Rossoneri will face a tough task in dismantling the high-on-confidence side from Udine...

By Subhankar Mondal

Milan celebrating - Cagliari-Milan - Serie A (Getty Images)
Winter Champions March On

Against Cagliari in Sardinia on Thursday, Milan appeared to struggle in the attacking department. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended and out of action, the Rossoneri were missing the spark and were also allowing the hosts to take the game to them.

The introduction of their final trump card Antonio Cassano in the 74th minute, though, changed the contour of the match as the Italy international crafted Rodney Strasser’s winning goal five minutes from full-time.

The narrow 1-0 victory actually stretched Milan's lead at the top of the table in Serie A to five points after both Lazio and Napoli failed to gather maximum points and confirmed their status as winter champions. With 39 points from 18 matches, the former Italian and European champions are marching on towards their first Scudetto triumph since 2004.

However, against Udinese on Sunday the Diavolo should expect themselves to come up against a strong side who could make them sweat yet again. Massimiliano Allegri's team, though, do have a formidable record at San Siro this season, having won six out of nine league fixtures, scoring 17 goals in the process. They have also won seven of their last nine Serie A encounters and have lost just one of them.

The Fairytale Ride Continues

Udinese continue to go from strength to strength in Serie A and feed their dream to qualify for Europe next season. The Bianconeri's 2-0 victory over Chievo in Udine on Thursday came despite them having been reduced to ten men after 34 minutes because of the sending off of Giampiero Pinzi and attested their mettle and turnaround in attitude.

Francesco Guidolin's side are currently eighth in the league standings with 26 points from 18 matches and are just four points off a Europa League spot. A place in Europe is still improbable given the quality of the teams above them in the table but stranger things have happened in football and the Zebrette would be eager to script their own little fairytale.

However, Udinese need to improve their away form as they have lost six of their nine matches on the road. As a matter of fact, the Udine-based team's recent record on the road is terribly wretched as they have gone down in their last four league encounters away from home.



TEAM NEWS

Milan


Inzaghi, Abbiati, Pirlo, Boateng and Zambrotta are injured for the Rossoneri while Ambrosini is suspended. Ibrahimovic is back from suspension and will line up alongside Robinho and Pato in a three-pronged attack. Nesta is also back and will start in central defence but Cassano could remain on the bench.

Udinese

Basta and Ferronetti are unavailable for the match against Milan and Pinzi is suspended. Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez will start upfront in a 3-5-2 formation.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Marco AmeliaGoalkeeper
20Ignazio AbateDefender
25Daniele BoneraDefender
4Thiago SilvaDefender
3Luca AntoniniDefender
-Rodney StrasserMidfielder
-C. SeedorfManager/Coach
8Gennaro Ivan GattusoMidfielder
7RobinhoStriker
10Zlatan IbrahimovicStriker
9Alexandre PatoStriker
30Flavio RomaGoalkeeper
25Sokratis PapastathopoulosDefender
-Massimo OddoDefender
7B. MontelongoMidfielder
33Mario YepesDefender
-Alexander MerkelMidfielder
99Antonio CassanoStriker
1Samir HandanoviçGoalkeeper
17Mehdi BenatiaDefender
11Maurizio DomizziDefender
17Cristian ZapataDefender
22Kwadwo AsamoahMidfielder
33Mauricio IslaDefender
-Almen AbdiMidfielder
88Gökhan InlerMidfielder
26Giovanni PasqualeDefender
10Antonio Di NataleStriker
9Alexis SánchezStriker
25Emanuele BelardiGoalkeeper
-Gabriele AngellaDefender
-Pablo ArmeroDefender
-Bernardo CorradiStriker
85Andrea CodaDefender
7BaduMidfielder
19Germán DenisStriker
Players to Watch
Antonio Cassano
Antonio Cassano
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 99
Games Goals YC RC
30 11 5 0
Antonio Cassano is likely to start on the bench for the second league game in a row but he is one trump card that Allegri can pull out later on in the match. As the Italian expressed against Cagliari, he remains a potent creator from the midfield and should the Diavolo again struggle against Udinese, the former Roma and Real Madrid player could be the one to rescue the former Italian and European champions.
Alexis Sánchez
Alexis Sánchez
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Alexis Sanchez was on target against Chievo on Thursday and once again demonstrated just why he is one of the best young attacking players in Italy. The Chile international has been linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United said to be waiting at the door, and against Milan he would be looking to impress once again.
Probable Lineups
Marco Amelia 1
Ignazio Abate 20
Daniele Bonera 25
Thiago Silva 4
Luca Antonini 3
Rodney Strasser 0
C. Seedorf 0
Gennaro Ivan Gattuso 8
Robinho 7
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 10
Alexandre Pato 9
Samir Handanoviç 1
Mehdi Benatia 17
Maurizio Domizzi 11
Cristian Zapata 17
Kwadwo Asamoah 22
Mauricio Isla 33
Almen Abdi 0
Gökhan Inler 88
Giovanni Pasquale 26
Antonio Di Natale 10
Alexis Sánchez 9
Prediction
Milan will start the match as favourites and even though Udinese are on a high, their modest away form will be detrimental to their cause of getting points off the Rossoneri at San Siro.

Editor's Prediction
Milan 2
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