The Nerazzurri will aspire to maintain their 100 per cent record under Leonardo while the Bianconeri will hope for another blockbuster thriller...Entertainment Guaranteed
Udinese had created precious little in the first-half of their Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie against Sampdoria in Genoa in midweek and even in the second session didn't exactly look that they were going to emerge with a victory.
Then came the 90th minute equaliser and a couple of minutes into extra-time period, the Bianconeri went 2-1 ahead, only to concede a spot-kick later on and to lose the tie 5-4 on penalties. It was just the continuation of unalloyed thrill and entertainment that Francesco Guidolin's side have been providing since the inception of the new year.
Udinese have not only just been enthralling, they have been effective and have collected the wins too. The Zebrette started 2011 with a 2-0 win against Chievo, then held league leaders Milan to a 4-4 draw at San Siro and last weekend hammered Genoa 4-2 away to place themselves eighth in the league table, a tangible four points off a Europa League slot.
Winning against Inter will not be easy for Udinese but the Udine-based team have a strong record at the Friuli, having won six out of nine league games there this season. In the reverse fixture earlier this campaign, Udinese suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Inter at San Siro and will be looking for revenge this weekend.
Unbeaten Record Under Threat
Italian and European champions Inter have turned the corner and are back in the race for the Scudetto. Midweek's dramatic and nervy 3-2 victory over Cesena at San Siro was the Beneamata's fifth successive competitive win under coach Leonardo and fourth in a row in the league.
The gap between Inter and their city-rivals and league leaders Milan has now been trimmed to just six points with the Nerazzurri also having a game in hand. Currently fourth in the league standings, Inter have now collected 35 points from 19 matches and Milan are under real threat.
And so is Inter's winning run under Leonardo as Udinese do have the quality and form to register a victory over them in Udine. Inter have scored goals but they have conceded too, and given that they looked shaky at the back against Cesena in midweek and shipped two quick goals, the Serpente could be in for a tricky time this weekend.
Basta and Ferronetti are injured and will miss the visit of Inter to Udine. Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez will line up as the front-two with five men across the midfield.
Sneijder, Coutinho, Samuel, Julio Cesar and Milito are unavailable as they are suffering from injuries. Pandev seems set to replace Milito in attack alongside Eto'o.