Following the Serie A defeat to Fiorentina, Udinese were also eliminated from the Champions League, meaning the Zebrette need to show a lot of character if they are to get anything from this game. Reigning champions Juventus got off to a winning start and they definitely look like favourites to win at Friuli.
Penalty heartbreak for Udinese
Udinese are one of the clubs with the best transfer policy in the world given that the Zebrette tend to buy talented but unproven players and sell them on for a huge profit few years later. Despite cashing in on their key players season after season, the Friuli outfit have done well to remain near the top of Italian football, but it appears the current crop of players won’t be able to repeat the success of their predecessors. The start of the season has proved that coach Francesco Guidolin will have his work cut out for him after the likes of Samir Handanovic, Maurizio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah were replaced with the likes of Zeljko Brkic, Willians and Maicosuel. While the opening Serie A defeat to Fiorentina may not mean much considering that Guidolin had field a second string line-up at Artemio Franchi, the Champions League elimination to Braga proved that Udinese are now far weaker than last term. While nobody can deny that the Portuguese side have quality, the fact that the Friulani were twice completely outplayed by their opponents proves they are not at all ready for what awaits them in the match against reigning Serie A champions.
Paulo Barreto and Emmanuel-Agyemang Badu remain sidelined, but new signings Andrea Lazzari and Mathias Ranegie are in contention.
Hot favourites for the title
Juventus may have shocked many people by winning the Serie A trophy last term, but it is highly unlikely that anyone would be surprised if they do it all over again. With no major changes to the starting line-up, the team will obviously need no time to gel and the Bianconeri are expected to hit the ground running early on. New signings Maurizio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah, Lucio, Sebastian Giovinco and Nicklas Bendtner have further increased competition for places, which should result in even better showings from the Serie A champions. The Italian Super Cup victory over Napoli and league triumph over Parma proved that Juventus are on the right track and Antonio Conte’s side now have a great chance to bring all three points from one of the most difficult away grounds in Italy. The visitors are clearly in much better form and spirits than their opponents, while their superior quality is also expected to prevail.
Giorgio Chiellini should return to the side after recovering from injury, but Martin Caceres, Maurizio Isla, Lucio, Sebastian Giovinco and Simone Padoin are all out injured.
Udinese will need some time to recover from the Champions League exit on penalties and being clearly far away from the desired form, I seriously doubt they can stop in-form Juventus from winning at Friuli. The Bianconeri have started the season well and they can be trusted to record third successive victory.
Our prediction: Away win
Odds: 1.83 (5/6)
Bookmaker: William Hill