High-flying Udinese look to extend their winning run in the league to five games and at the same time put extra pressure on their rivals for Europa League positions. After losing yet another home game, Sampdoria are in danger of slipping into the danger zone, but avoiding defeat at Friuli could prove to be a very difficult task.
I dare say that Udinese have the best transfer strategy in Italian Serie A, with their policy of signing unproven players and selling them on for huge profits yielding excellent results. And while the Zebrette never have such big ambitions before a season starts, they always seem to found a way to ensure European qualification at least. After impressing to achieve a third-place finish last term, Francesco Guidolin’s side just couldn’t hit the ground running this season and at one point it looked as though they might even be involved in the relegation tussle. However, as soon as the hectic schedule eased up and key players started returning to the side, Udinese serious raised their game and they have been absolutely amazing during the business end of the season. The latest four-match winning run have seen the Friulani climb to sixth in the Serie A standings and they could easily move even further up by beating Sampdoria given that fifth-placed Roma face a mountain to climb at Artemio Franchi. With back line in perfect working order having kept three successive clean sheets, Udinese could again need just one goal to make it five victories on the bounce.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu has joined Andrea Lazzari in the infirmary, while Luis Muriel should be recalled to the starting line-up.
Sampdoria in danger
Nobody could predict that Sampdoria would be fighting for their lives in the final few fixtures of the season seeing as how the team had spent much of the current campaign in and around the mid table positions. Nevertheless, Delio Rossi’s side suffered a huge dip in form at the start of March and after picking up just three points from last seven league matches, they sit mere six points above the bottom three. With just four games to go, one would expect Sampdoria to survive this campaign after all, but with games against Udinese, Catania, Lazio and Juventus coming up, Doriani might need to rely on other teams to help them secure survival after all. Getting something from Friuli would be seen as a difficult task even if Sampdoria were on top of their game, but given they are completely out of form and desperately lacking in confidence, this may prove to be mission impossible. Having failed to score in three of last six matches and having lost the reverse fixture 2-0 at their Marassi, another disappointing defeat looks on the cards.
Important defenders Angelo Palombo and Daniele Gastaldello are suspended, whereas Nenad Krsticic is injured and Andrea Costa and Gianluca Sansone are injury doubts.
Udinese have become a genuine force to be reckoned with at their Friuli and they will be feeling very confident following the four-match winning streak. Sampdoria are all over the place at the moment and they will struggle to score let alone get anything from Friuli, with the Zebrette having kept five clean sheets in last seven home games.
Top pick: Sampdoria not to score 2.00 (1/1) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 1.83 (5/6) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Udinese to win to nil 2.50 (3/2) @ Paddy Power
As Seen on TV – World’s Finest Live Casino!
William Hill just rolled out their new high quality live casino room. Every new player at William Hill Live Casino can earn a bonus of £25. Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Sports Roulette & meet SEXY Dealers.