Udinese - Juventus: Wounded Zebrette look to bounce back against Bianconeri
Francesco Guidolin is reeling at the moment, having seen his side lose their Serie A opener before once again failing to qualify for the Champions League group stages
By Mark Doyle
Heurtaux, Danilo, Coda
Basta, Faraoni, Willians, Pereyra, Pasquale
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Lichsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah
Udinese will be desperate to kickstart their 2012/13 campaign when they face Italian champions Juventus at the Friuli on Sunday evening.
After slumping to a 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina on the opening day of the new Serie A season last weekend, the Zebrette then saw their hopes of qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League dashed in agonising fashion, Francesco Guidolin's men suffering a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Braga.
Antonio Di Natale will make his first league appearance of the season, after being forced to sit out the trip to Florence, and will be supported by Maicosuel, who is expected to be promoted to the starting lineup in spite of his decisive missed penalty in midweek.
Elsewhere, Giampiero Pinzi has been ruled out by injury, while Thomas Heurtaux, Andrea Coda and Marco Faraoni are all set to be recalled.
As for Juve, Sebastian Giovinco misses out with a minor knock, so Alessandro Matri is likely to start up front alongside Mirko Vucinic, and the former Cagliari man will no doubt be keen to prove his worth with Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner having arrived in Turin on transfer deadline day.
The Bianconeri are also buoyed by the return of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and defender Giorgio Chiellini, both of whom were sidelined for last weekend's 2-0 victory over Parma.
Aside from those changes, it's expected to be a case of as you were for the champions, with Kwadwo Asamoah poised to make his first appearance against his former club.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Udinese also fell at the final qualifying round of the Champions League last season, losing 3-1 on aggregate to English outfit Arsenal.
- The Zebrette did make it through in 2005 but they failed to make it out of a group containing Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen and FC Barcelona.
- Kwadwo Asamoah, who arrived at Juventus Stadium during the summer, made 114 appearances for Udinese in Serie A, scoring eight goals.
- Chile international Mauricio Isla also swapped Udine for Turin this summer but he misses the game against his former employers through injury.
- Juventus have now gone 40 games undefeated in Serie A, following last weekend's victory over Parma.
- Italy and Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon is embarking upon his 12th campaign with the Bianconeri.
- Alessandro Matri was Juve's top scorer in Serie A last season, despite managing to find the net just 10 times in 31 appearances.
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Top 3 Predictions
Udinese 0-2 Juventus
- 26.43 %
Udinese 1-2 Juventus
- 12.23 %
Udinese 1-3 Juventus
- 12.07 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 1, 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 19, 2013||Juventus 4 - Udinese 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 2, 2012||Udinese 1 - Juventus 4|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 28, 2012||Juventus 2 - Udinese 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 21, 2011||Udinese 0 - Juventus 0|
|Dec 7, 2013||SSC Napoli 3 - Udinese 3||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Nov 24, 2013||Udinese 1 - Fiorentina 0||ITA1|
|Nov 9, 2013||Catania 1 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Nov 3, 2013||Udinese 0 - FC Internazionale 3||ITA1|
|10||Antonio Di Natale||Striker|
|10||Paulo Vitor Barreto||Striker|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
It's been a hell of a week for the Brazilian, who marked his Serie A debut with a goal before then missing the crucial spot-kick in Udinese's shoot-out defeat against Braga. Maicosuel only featured as a substitute against the Portuguese but he is expected to be restored to the starting lineup on Sunday evening so it will be fascinating to see how he responds to Guidolin's show of faith.
While Juventus fans everywhere were left distinctly underwhelmed by the signing of Nicklas Bendtner on Friday, Alessandro Matri must have breathed a sigh of relief. The Dane's arrival obviously means more competition for places but it is not quite the level of competition Matri would have been expecting, with Juve having previously been linked with Robin van Persie and Edinson Cavani. Regardless, the onus is now on Matri to prove to Antonio Conte that he is good enough to lead the Juve attack.
It's impossible not to feel anything but sympathy for miracle worker Guidolin and his fine Zebrette side in light of their Champions League heartbreak but the reality is that they only have themselves to blame after a substandard performance against Braga. Juventus are also a ruthless outfit who have mastered the art of winning without playing well, as they underlined against Parma last weekend, so expect the champions to edge a predictably tight affair.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed