Back to back wins over Cagliari and Sampdoria saw Udinese finally return to the top half of the standings, with the Zebrette now hoping to make it three on the bounce. Palermo extended their losing streak to three games as they were beaten at home by Juventus, and they face a tough task in an attempt to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Infirmary finally empty
Udinese were always going to have problems repeating the showings that helped them clinch the final Champions League berth last term, but they certainly did not expect so many issues in the first part of the season. Departure of key players, Europa League campaign and numerous injuries to first team regulars all played a part in Udinese’s dismal start to the season, but it appears the Zebrette are finally returning to the right track. With their European campaign finally over and the likes of Basta, Benatia, Domizzi, Pinzi and Badu back to the side, Udinese have shown a massive improvement of late, with back to back wins over Cagliari and Sampdoria hinting the Friulani might just manage to turn this season around. Home game against by far the worst travelers in the elite division seems a perfect opportunity to continue the excellent run of results.
Defenders Mehdi Benatia and Maurizio Domizzi have both resumed full training, meaning that for the first time this season boss Francesco Guidolin can pick from a fully fit squad.
Still no cure for travel sickness
As controversial president Maurizio Zamparini began to lose interest in the club, Palermo were getting weaker and weaker, and they now appear to be genuine relegation strugglers. In an attempt to improve the quality of the squad after what had been a very disappointing season, the Rosanero signed quite a few players in the summer, but most of the new signings have failed to prove they have what it takes to play at this level. While doing fairly well at their Renzo Barbera, taking 12 points from 8 games, Palermo did nothing to shake off the tag of being the worst travelers in the league, having brought just 2 points from 8 away games, scoring 2 and conceding 14 goals in the process. Being completely out of form at the moment and on a three-match losing run, the Rosanero cannot be trusted to improve the disappointing record against in-form Udinese.
Defender Michel Morganella is suspended, while Abel Hernandez and Andrea Mantovani miss out through injury.
With all first team regulars back in action, Udinese are finally playing to their potential and they look more than capable of winning their third straight league fixture. Palermo have lost three in a row and their wretched away record is enough to suggest a fourth defeat is on the cards.
Top pick: Home win 1.83 (5/6) @ 888sport
Alternative pick 1: Udinese to win to nil 3.25 (9/4) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Udinese to score two or more 1.83 (5/6) @ bet365