Udinese - Inter Preview: Nerazzurri look to reap Friuli fruits
After an inconsistent end to 2012, Andrea Stramaccioni's side will hope to return refreshed from their two-week winter break and start the new year in impressive fashion
By Alec Fenn
Angella, Danilo, Domizzi
Basta, Merkel, Allan, Lazzari, Pasquale
Samuel, Chivu, Juan Jesus
Zanetti, Guarin, Gargano, C'biasso, Pereira
For all the exchanging of gifts over the festive period, the only present of concern to Andrea Stramaccioni on Sunday will be three morale-boosting points.
The Nerazzurri ended 2012 in disappointing fashion; defeat to Lazio was remedied with a 2-0 win over Verona in the Coppa Italia, but a 1-1 draw at home to Genoa was a far from ideal way to head into the two-week break.
The impending departure of midfielder Wesley Sneijder has dominated much of the fortnight ceasefire and though his absence at the weekend will be entirely down to off the field issues, injuries to Dejan Stankovic, Joel Obi, Luca Castellazzi, Yuto Nagatomo, Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez, amounts to a lengthy injury list.
Udinese sit in 10th position heading into the encounter - 11 points adrift of their visitors - and will be without Willian, Paulo Barreto, Mehdi Benatia and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- It has been a case of win or bust for Inter on the road so far this season. Of their nine away trips, six have ended in victory while the other three have resulted in defeat.
- Argentina international Diego Milito hit the back of the net eight times prior to the winter break and will be hoping to continue that goalscoring form on Sunday.
- Andrea Stramaccioni's men have 30 goals to their name in Serie A so far this season - the sixth best total in the division.
- Developing a ruthless streak at home may well have been Udinese's number one New Year's resolution - four of their eight games have ended in draws.
- He may be 35 years old but there are still few defences capable of stopping Antonio Di Natale. He has 10 Serie A goals already.
- The Zebrette finished in an impressive third place last season and will hope their current occupation of 10th spot is a temporary stay.
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Top 3 Predictions
Udinese 1-2 FC Internazionale
- 18.32 %
Udinese 1-3 FC Internazionale
- 15.31 %
Udinese 0-2 FC Internazionale
- 12.88 %
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Jan 9, 2014||Udinese 1 - FC Internazionale 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Nov 3, 2013||Udinese 0 - FC Internazionale 3|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 19, 2013||FC Internazionale 2 - Udinese 5|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 6, 2013||Udinese 3 - FC Internazionale 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 25, 2012||Udinese 1 - FC Internazionale 3|
|Mar 2, 2014||Cagliari 3 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Udinese 1 - Atalanta 1||ITA1|
|Feb 16, 2014||Genoa 3 - Udinese 3||ITA1|
|Feb 11, 2014||Fiorentina 2 - Udinese 0||ITAC|
|Feb 8, 2014||Udinese 3 - Chievo 0||ITA1|
|10||Antonio Di Natale||Striker|
|10||Paulo Vitor Barreto||Striker|
|-||Raffaele Di Gennaro||Goalkeeper|
|Antonio Di Natale|
While some players drift into obscurity in their mid-30s, the veteran striker appears to have blossomed with age. 10 Serie A goals make him Serie A's joint-third top scorer and Udinese's danger man on Sunday.
Two years Antonio Di Natale's junior, the Inter striker has also shown age is no barrier with a further eight Serie A strikes to his prolific tally at San Siro. Having said that, he will hope to improve on a run of just one goal in his last seven league games.
It will be a case of rusty or refreshed for the two sides on the back of the two-week winter break, but though Inter ended 2012 in unconvincing fashion, they will do just enough to scrape a first victory of 2013 at Stadio Friuli.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed