It's a clash between two of the in-form sides in the league..Going From Strength To Strength
Udinese are an inspired side this campaign as far from struggling at the lower end in Serie A, the Bianconeri are actually floating in mid-table with relative comfort. Last weekend the Udine-based side may have lost 2-0 to Roma in Rome but that mustn't darken what has been a very good and encouraging season so far.
Prior to last weekend's defeat at the Stadio Olimpico Udinese had gone unbeaten in nine competitive matches and after Week 13 are placed in 11th place with 17 points, six better off than third-from-bottom Brescia and just three behind Italian and European champions Inter, who are sixth.
In midweek Udinese progressed to the fifth round of the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Lecce and returned to winning ways after last weekend's defeat. Francesco Guidolin's side have an encouraging record in the league at home as well as they have won three of the six fixtures at the Stadio Friuli.
Maintaining Top Four Position
A combination of several factors has stationed Napoli right in the middle of realising their dreams of finishing in the top four and returning to Champions League football, and the Neapolitans will be looking forward to carrying on the momentum this week too.
Last weekend Napoli bounced back from their comprehensive 2-0 defeat to Lazio in style as they destroyed Bologna 4-1 at San Paolo. Marek Hamsik, who has looked good on intermittent times this campaign but has once again shown bouts of inconsistency, was on target twice to help the Partenopei remain third in the league standings on 24 points, two behind second-placed Lazio and five that of leaders Milan.
The former Italian champions have every reason to believe that they can pull off a victory in Udine on Sunday as they have a remarkable away record, having won four games on the road and have conceded just six times. The defeat to Lazio in Roma was Walter Mazzarri's side first loss away from home, which exhibits just how good they have been in the league.
Zapata, Floro Flores, Basta and Ferronetti are out injured for the Bianconeri. Di Natale and Denis will be the two strikers upfront for Udinese.
Cannavaro, Aronica, Lucarelli, Blasi, Dumitru, Sosa and Gianello are unavailable for the trip to Udine as they are injured. Hamsik and Cavani will play just behind lone-striker Lavezzi in a 3-4-2-1 formation.