Following the disappointing exit from the Champions League play-offs, Udinese hope to make the most of their Europa League campaign, but they could find it hard to match in-form Anzhi side. The club from Makhachkala have been on fire of late, with Guus Hiddink’s team looking to extend their winning run to six games in all competitions.
Guidolin adamant Serie A survival main objective
Having always done well despite selling their key players season after season, Udinese were expected to find a way to compensate for the departures of Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah, Samir Handanovic, Antonio Floro Flores and Gabriel Torje. However, it appears the club officials haven’t done such a good job in the summer transfer window, as witnessed by team’s dismal showings at the start of the season. Even Udinese’s starting line-up don’t look capable of matching best Italian sides, so you can imagine how they fare when several key players are rested, as it will be the case against Anzhi. The Zebrette are still winless this season, and their spirits will be very low after squandering a two-goal lead against Siena at the weekend. Taking also into account that Francesco Guidolin is likely to rest most of his key players, the hosts cannot be trusted to record a positive result against red-hot Anzhi.
Mehdi Benatia, Dusan Basta, Antonio Di Natale and Giampiero Pinzi will all be rested, while keeper Zeljko Brkic should return from domestic suspension.
Anzhi finally playing to their potential
Having spent piles of cash to attract star players such as Samuel Eto’o, Mbark Boussoufa, Chris Samba and Yuri Zhirkov, Anzhi were tipped to make another splash in the transfer market this summer, but the club resisted the temptation and instead only signed a handful of high-quality players. World-class coach Guus Hiddink was followed by Real Madrid star Lassana Diarra and excellent striker Lacina Traore, and the club chiefs thus made sure the balance of the squad was not impaired. As a result, Anzhi have been thoroughly impressive this season, winning all six games in the Europa League qualifiers, with the 5-0 away win over AZ Alkmaar the highlight of their season, while also doing well in domestic league. Going into the Udinese game on the back of five straight victories and with a full squad to choose from, Anzhi look a good bet to win at Friuli.
With no fresh injuries to report, boss Guus Hiddink is expected to field the same side that recorded a 5-2 win over Krasnodar at the weekend.
Even Francesco Guidolin himself admitted Udinese would be probably fighting for Serie A survival this term and team’s disappointing showings seem to prove his claim. With the hosts also set to rest several star players, impressive Anzhi side could easily record a victory at Friuli.
Our prediction: Anzhi Draw no bet
Odds: 1.83 (5/6)