Juventus vs Udinese: Match Preview
The month of March has started in some style: a stoppage-time win away to Lazio last weekend saw the Bianconeri cut Napoli’s lead at the top of the table to just one point, while Massimiliano Allegri’s men also have a game in hand over their Scudetto rivals, namely the rearranged fixture against Atalanta on 14 March.
In Europe, meanwhile, Juve booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals after a gripping 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Wembley and 4-3 aggregate scoreline, meaning that they will be eagerly awaiting next Friday’s draw in Nyon.
Coming up over the next week, however, the Bianconeri play three games which could have a big say in the destiny of the Scudetto title: Udinese this Sunday, Atalanta next Wednesday and a trip to SPAL on Saturday 17 March – the final fixture before the next international break.
UDINESE OFF COLOUR
The Zebrette may share the black and white stripes with Juventus, but their season currently bears very little resemblance to that of the Bianconeri.
After a run of five straight Serie A victories at the end of 2017, Udinese have won just once in 2018 – against Genoa on 28 January – and have dropped to 11th place in the Serie A standings (33 points).
Former Milan, Lazio and Italy defender, Massimo Oddo took over the reins at Udinese in November, which coincided with that strong finish to 2017, only for the team to suffer a significant dip in form since the New Year – not least in terms of goalscoring.
In Oddo’s first six matches in charge, the Zebrette netted 2.3 goals (and gained 2.5 points) per match. However, in his last eight games, their strike rate has fallen to just 0.6 goals (and 0.8 points) per match.
BIANCONERI VS ZEBRETTE BATTLES
Juventus’ recent record against Udinese is strong, having won nine, drawn two and lost one of their last 12 meetings. Despite that, the Bianconeri have not done the double over their black and white striped rivals since the 2013/14 season.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men have the chance to put that statistic right this Sunday, having won the reverse fixture in October in what turned out to be a true classic. Juve overturned an early deficit and overcame their numerical disadvantage – after Mario Mandzukic’s red card – to win the game 6-2, Sami Khedira scoring a stunning hat-trick on the day.
La Vecchia Signora have claimed five victories from their six Serie A matches against Udinese at Allianz Stadium, with the in-form Paulo Dybala netting a crucial double in the last of these games in October 2016 to help the hosts fight back from a goal down to win 2-1.
Udinese’s 1-0 triumph in Turin back in August 2015 was the last time that Juve had lost a home game until Lazio ended the impressive unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win in October 2017.
#JUVEUDINESE MATCH STATS
- Juve’s overall Serie A home record against Udinese reads: P 43 – W 32 – D 4 – L 7
- Across Europe’s top five leagues, the Bianconeri are the only team to have taken maximum points in 2018 (seven wins from seven) and also to have kept clean sheets in all of those matches.
- Juve have won their last 10 Serie A matches and not conceded a single goal in their last seven.
- Udinese are tied with Lazio for the most goals scored from penalties this season (seven).
- While Juve have scored the most goals (21) in the first half-hour of Serie A fixtures this season, Udinese have conceded the second-most amount (16) between the first and 30th minutes of matches.
- Udinese is Paulo Dybala’s favourite opponent in Serie A: La Joya has been involved in 11 goals against the Zebrette (scoring five and assisting six).
- Kwadwo Asamoah, Medhi Benatia and Juan Cuadrado are all ex-Udinese players.
- If he takes to the field on Sunday, Gonzalo Higuain will make his 150th Serie A appearance.
- Massimiliano Allegri was manager of Milan when Massimo Oddo was still a player at the club during the 2010/11 season.