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Aug 23, 2015 at 5pm UK at ​Juventus Stadium
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Thereau (78')

Preview: Juventus vs. Udinese

Sports Mole previews the Serie A clash between Juventus and Udinese.

Juventus play host to Udinese on Sunday evening as they begin their quest to win a fifth successive Serie A crown.

As far as Udinese are concerned, a trip to Turin is not the start that they craved, but new boss Stefano Colantuono may welcome the chance to learn more about his new squad against the best team in Italy.


AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri reacts during the Serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 2, 2013© Getty Images

After they claimed the Serie A title by 17 points last year, Juventus are favourites to make it five league crowns in a row, but the Italian giants will have to go through a transitional period during the opening months of the season.

While much of their uncompromising defence remains, the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez have all departed the club, leaving huge shoes needing to be filled, but while they have been replaced, it may take time for the new arrivals to adapt to Italian football and playing for such an illustrious club.

Paulo Dybala and Simone Zaza are no strangers to the rigours of the division, but Mario Mandzukic, Alex Sandro and, when fit, Sami Khedira may require a settling-in period to fully justify their place in the team. That said, they are all established names in European football and will be aware of the job that awaits them.

First and foremost, Juventus will be focused on their own performances, but for the first time in a couple of years, they could face competition from both the Milan clubs, as well as recent rivals Roma. They are not expected to canter to the title as they have previously done, and it is important for them to get their campaign off to a positive start.

Transfer speculation still remains about star man Paul Pogba, but with or without the impressive French international, the Turin giants need to produce a performance that informs their nearest challengers that they can continue to be the most feared side in the country, even if it is without Pirlo, Vidal and Tevez.

Recent form (all competitions): W


Atalanta BC head coach Stefano Colantuono issues instructions during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Atalanta BC at Juventus Arena on February 20, 2015© Getty Images

Udinese ended the 2012-13 campaign in fifth place and looking to continue to challenge near the top of the standings, but since that moment they have spent much of the last two years as nothing more than a mid-table outfit, something which resulted in a change in manager in the summer.

After the club finished just seven points above the relegation zone, Andrea Stramaccioni was soon sacked as the club's boss and replaced by Colantuono, who had spent the previous five years at Atalanta.

It was not the most inspired appointment that could have been made, but the 52-year-old has been brought in to bring stability to a club who need to be back challenging for a European place.

Pre-season did not exactly go according to plan, with defeats coming against both Bastia and Granada, but they at least recorded a 3-1 victory over Novarra in the opening round of the Coppa Italia last weekend.

Each of the club's five new signings were handed their debut during that game, and with former Roma man Marquinho having followed to Stadio Friuli, optimism is high that the recruits can help ensure that they can look forward rather than back, although they could have their backs against the wall for much of the 90 minutes at the Juventus Stadium.

Recent form (all competitions): W

Team News

Paulo Dybala of Juventus FC in celebrates a goal during the Italian Super Cup final football match between Juventus and Lazio at Shanghai Stadium on August 8, 2015© Getty Images

Dybala could be drafted into the starting lineup to partner Mandzukic after coming off the bench to score in the Supercoppa Italiana against Lazio two weeks ago.

New signing Alex Sandro may have to wait to make his first start for the club after joining from Porto, while Giorgio Chiellini and Sami Khedira are absentees through injury.

The trio of Ali Adnan, Edenilson and Ivan Piris are all expected to make their league debuts for Udinese after featuring in the Coppa Italia last week.

Fellow new arrival Manuel Iturra came off the bench during that game and could also start against the Old Lady, while Coluntuono must decide whether to use Duvan Zapata and Marquinho from the opening whistle.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Buffon, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner, Evra, Bonucci, Caceres, Marchisio, Pogba, Sturaro, Mandzukic, Dybala

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Karnezis, Danilo, Heurtaux, Edenilson, Piris, Ali Adnan, Agyemang-Badu, Guilherme, Bruno Fernandes, Di Natale, Thereau

Head To Head

Since their first fixture in 1994, the two clubs have met on 40 occasions, with Juventus winning 27 times compared to just the seven victories recorded by Udinese.

Unsurprisingly, given their recent dominance in Italy, Juventus are unbeaten in recent fixtures between the two teams, with their current streak reaching eight matches.

However, it has only been four years since Udinese scored an away win over the Bianconeri, with Alexis Sanchez scoring in the closing stages to earn his team the three points.

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We say: Juventus 2-0 Udinese

After going through the entire 2014-15 campaign without losing at home in the league, it is unrealistic to back against the defending champions beginning this season on a similar note. It has been a summer of change in Turin, but it would come as a surprise if they deliver anything other than a professional performance.

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Who will win Sunday's match between Juventus and Udinese?

Juventus' French midfielder Labile Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus Vs Chievo Verona on January 25, 2015
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