Udinese need to make amends for the 4-0 defeat in Turin and try and get back into contention for European places, with the Zebrette hot favourites in the clash with Siena. Robur have just ended a six-match losing run in Serie A, and will now attempt to further close the gap behind safety by taking at least one point from Friuli.
Heavy defeat in Turin
Udinese found it hard to cope with everything thrown at them in the first part of the season, with important departures, hectic schedule and selection problems making life difficult for Francesco Guidolin and his men. However, as the problems started to subside, the Zebrette began to improve and they have been pretty impressive over the last month or so. Four wins and two draws in six Serie A games saw Udinese return to the race for European places, although the 4-0 defeat to Juventus last weekend grounded the team after they had been flying really high. Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely the Zebrette will be too downhearted by that result, but they would rather concentrate on extending their good home run against weak Siena. Having recorded convincing victories over top 3 contenders Inter and Fiorentina in their last two home games, the Friulani can be trusted to see off Siena as well.
Antonio Di Natale returns to the side after he was rested in Turin, but Mehdi Benatia, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Zeljko Brkic and Wojciech Pawlowski are all unavailable.
Important win for Siena
Even if Siena did well to quickly neutralize the six-point penalty they had been slapped with before the season started, it appears that the punishment could prove to be decisive in the survival fight. The run of six consecutive defeats in Serie A saw Robur slip to the bottom of the standings, but if it hadn’t been for the aforementioned penalty, they would now be sitting above the bottom three. Siena showed some improvement to beat Sampdoria at home and thus revived their survival chances, but that is not enough to suggest Beppe Iachini’s side have what it takes to match in-form Udinese at Friuli. Siena’s dismal away record is another cause for concern, given that they could only bring 5 points from 10 matches on the road. With new signing Nicola Pozzi still unable to help his teammates, this could easily be a start of a new losing streak for Robur.
Apart from the former Sampdoria striker, all other players are in contention for the match at Friuli.
Having rediscovered their home form, Udinese are well positioned to return to winning ways against Siena, with the return of Antonio Di Natale likely to be a huge boost for the hosts. Robur may have ended their losing streak by beating fellow strugglers Sampdoria, but this will be a whole different ball game.
Top pick: Home win 1.67 (2/3) @ William Hill
Alternative pick 1: Udinese to score two or more 1.80 (4/5) @ bet365
Alternative pick 2: Udinese/Udinese 2.60 (8/5) @ Paddy Power
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