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22. Aug 2015, 17:51

 Post subject: MATCH PREVIEW: Juventus-Udinese
#1PostPosted: 22. Aug 2015, 17:51 
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The wait is over: the Italian Serie A kicks off this weekend and four-time defending champions Juventus open their season hosting Udinese with hopes of equaling the record for most consecutive scudetti won.

On the other side is an Udinese who is trying to reinvent itself, stave off relegation, and, who knows, return to European competition. After the zebrette‘s most prolific striker – and among the top 5 in Serie A, all time – Antonio Di Natale announced his decision to continue to play for the Friulian side, Udinese witnessed the loss of their tireless midfielder, the Brazilian Allen, to Napoli. Big things are expected of Duván Zapata, who’s unlikely to join Di Natale in Udinese’s starting line up, and ex-Roma midfielder Marquinho.

Juventus and Udinese will meet in Turin for the 42st time in Italy’s top flight, with the record heavily in the hosts favour. In fact, the zebrette friulane won only 6 times away from home, drawing 4 times and losing the remaining 31 matches.

Allegri, who achieved their first seasonal objective, the Italian Supercup a fortnight before kickoff, has seen his midfield decimated by injuries, with Khedira, Asamoah and Marchisio expected to miss the remainder of August’s fixtures. For this reason, the Old Lady is expected to sport a 3-5-2 formation featuring Pogba, Padoin and Sturaro in centre midfield, flanked by expert wingers like Evra and Lichtsteiner and backed by Barzagli, Bonucci and Caceres.

In attack, in the wake of Morata’s injury, Allegri is likely to feature Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandžukić the brand new attacking duo that led Juventus to triumph in China. At the time of writing, the Croatian should feature despite a slight injury he picked up in the midweek classic friendly at Villar Perosa versus the boys from the youth squad.

Stefano Colantuono, has proven that he can work well in an Italian football oasis like Bergamo (Atalanta side), has had Guilherme bow out at the last minute due to a muscular injury.

Notable Quotes

Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus Coach

“Inter, Milan, Roma and Napoli are favourites for winning the scudetto this season, along with Juve”

“With respect to the mercato, it’s true, we’re not complete but this doesn’t create undue hardship for me. Chiellini is back, while we’ll evaluate Mandžukić’s condition today, whom I would rather not risk, after all we’re covered in attack with Llorente, Zaza, Dyabala and Coman. We must play a tactically sound game”

“Alex Sandro will form part of our practice for the first time today, so he won’t feature on Sunday. Llorente is currently a Juventus player, and is one of the candidates who’s likely to start should Mandžukić be unable to play. Isla? He’s a Juventus player and will likely remain thus”

Stefano Colantuono, Udinese Coach

“We must face Juventus without fear. Going to Turin just to defend yourself, is a losing tactic”

“Is Juve weaker after this mercato? I don’t know, Juventus brass has made very few mistakes in the last few years”

Probable Line-Ups

Juvnetus (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Caceres, Bonucci; Lichtsteiner, Padoin, Pogba, Sturaro, Evra; Dybala, Mandžukić

Udinese (3-5-2): Karnezis; Heurtaux, Danilo, Piris; Edenilson, Badu, Iturra, Fernandes, Adnan; Thereau, Di Natale


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