Having finally climbed to the top half of the standings, Udinese will give their best to remain there and extend their unbeaten run to five Serie A matches. Inter, on the other hand, slipped to fourth as they failed to beat Genoa at home, but a win at Friuli would certainly be a perfect tonic after such a disappointing result.
No Di Natale, no party!
In the past, Udinese always managed to keep their results respectable despite selling their key players every summer, but this season has proved to be much more difficult than the previous ones. Samir Handanovic, Kwadwo Asamoah and Maurizio Isla all left, and while the club officials failed to sign proper replacements, some of the other important players had long spells on the sidelines. All this made life very difficult for boss Francesco Guidolin, who even stated that his side should think about survival rather than battle for European places. Udinese have been showing some improvement of late, but the team remain heavily reliant on veteran striker Antonio Di Natale, who will have his work cut out against Inter’s three-man defence. Having lost two of their last three home fixtures, the Zebrette have little reason for optimism ahead of the clash with the Neroazzurri.
Giampiero Pinzi misses out through suspension, while Willians is sidelined through injury. Mehdi Benatia and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu are away on international duty, whereas Pablo Armero and Paulo Barreto are injury doubts.
Inter need to rediscover away form
Considering numerous changes to the playing squad and some dubious dealings in the summer transfer window, Inter have done brilliantly to climb to fourth position in the standings. Talented boss Andrea Stramaccioni constantly experimented with team’s formation, trying to get the best out of the players at his disposal, and it appears he has found the right balance in the side. While Inter did record several unexpected slip-ups at Giuseppe Meazza, they have been thoroughly impressive on the travels, winning first six Serie A fixtures on the road. Then came three narrow defeats to Atalanta, Parma and Lazio, but I have a feeling this is a match where Inter will rediscover their away form. The winter break will have done the team a world of good and the Neroazzurri now have a good opportunity to defeat under-strength Udinese.
Andrea Ranocchia is suspended, while Dejan Stankovic, Ricardo Alvarez and Luca Castellazzi are out injured.
Udinese have been struggling at their Friuli of late and with no less than three first team regulars missing, their poor run looks likely to continue. Inter have been somewhat inconsistent of late, but I believe they have what it takes to record their seventh away win of the season.
Top pick: Inter Draw no bet 1.73 (8/11) @ Coral
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 1.85 (17/20) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Away win 2.50 (3/2) @ Paddy Power