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


Angella, Danilo, Domizzi
Basta, Merkel, Allan, Lazzari, Pasquale
Di Natale

, Chivu, Juan Jesus
Zanetti, Guarin, Gargano, C'biasso, Pereira
Milito, Cassano

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.

  • 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.