MX23RW : Friday, April 23 15:45:00| >> :120:8110:8110:
Feb 21, 2021 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Ennio Tardini
Cornelius (3'), Kucka (32' pen.)
Brugman (10'), Cornelius (19'), Bani (29'), Mihaila (37'), Hernani (59'), Conti (78'), Man (83')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Okaka (64'), Nuytinck (80')
Zeegelaar (25'), Musso (37'), De Paul (81'), Pereyra (90+4')

Preview: Parma vs. Udinese - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Parma and Udinese, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Enduring a nightmarish period of 13 league games without a win - their worst-ever run in Serie A - crisis club Parma host Udinese at Stadio Ennio Tardini on Sunday.

The 14th-placed visitors were soundly beaten by Roma last time out, ending a fine four-match unbeaten run which included draws with Atalanta and Inter.

Match preview

Parma manager Roberto D'Aversa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Having once enjoyed hero status in a certain corner of Emilia, as he oversaw the club's meteoric rise from the depths of Serie C to rejoin Calcio's top tier, pressure is mounting on Parma boss Roberto D'Aversa as a result of his inability to stop their alarming slide down the standings.

Amid Italian media reports that club directors will meet to discuss the coach's future at the Tardini - just over a month since he was reappointed following his initial exit last summer - the 45-year-old must prepare his downtrodden side for the visit of Udinese on the back of yet another defeat. The Gialloblu suffered a 2-1 loss against Hellas Verona on Monday night, to stay four points adrift of safety in 19th place.

Despite the frantic midwinter signing of several new recruits, such as veteran striker Graziano Pelle, Milan loanee Andrea Conti and Bayern Munich starlet Joshua Zirkzee (also on loan) to assist in the relegation battle, there seems to be little sign of improvement.

With club president Kyle Krause - who has already fired Fabio Liverani this season - said to be "disappointed and angry" after the team's abject recent results, Parma must at least break their painful goalscoring drought on home turf in order to turn things around. Remarkably, the Ducali have now gone eight home matches without scoring in Serie A – just one shy of the all-time record posted by Sampdoria in 1972.

Currently the team with the weakest attack in the top flight, with only 15 goals scored - and with the second-worst defensive stats so far (43 conceded) - they have failed to register from open play in their last four outings. Only midfielder Juraj Kucka, who scored from the spot against Verona, has stepped up to the plate, netting each of Parma's last three goals.

Though they lost the first meeting between the clubs earlier this season, this week's hosts have won four of their last six Serie A games against Udinese, so at least precedent can offer Parma a slim sliver of hope.

Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Following a run of eight points from four tricky fixtures - with two disciplined draws against top teams Atalanta and Inter allied to victories over Spezia and Verona - Udinese's recent revival came to a shuddering halt at Stadio Olimpico last weekend, as the Bianconeri were mauled 3-0 by Roma.

Before that deserved defeat, Luca Gotti's men had not conceded in 360 minutes of top-flight action - testifying to the remedial work undertaken by the manager on his defence, which had previously been porous. One of the constant positives at the back throughout an up-and-down campaign has been goalkeeper Juan Musso - though the Argentinian stopper did foul Henrikh Mkhitaryan to concede a penalty last Sunday.

Not hiding his ambition to follow the path trod by many others - from Udine to the brighter lights of Milan, Turin or Rome - Musso recently declared that he was 'motivated' by rumours linking him with Inter, whose present incumbent Samir Handanovic spent several happy years at Stadio Friuli, and Roma - both of whom are likely to be looking for new number ones in the summer.

Having now kept six clean sheets in 20 league outings this season and otherwise impressed with a series of sharp stops, he has stated his ultimate aim is Champions League football and fighting for titles - clearly something not on offer at his present club.

After helping his team to rise four places and nine points above the relegation zone in recent weeks - and a full 11 clear of this Sunday's opponents - the former Racing goalkeeper can expect a relatively quiet afternoon against Parma's shot-shy attack, with boosting his shut-out record upmost in mind.

Parma Serie A form: LDLLLL
Parma form (all competitions): DLLLLL

Udinese Serie A form: LDDWWL

Team News

Gervinho in action for Parma in June 2020© Reuters

Following another failure to score from open play in their previous outing, the only Parma forward assured of a place in the first XI is Gervinho - even though he has also been less productive this season - with the other two striker slots in their likely 4-3-3 to be contested by Yann Karamoh and Dennis Man on the right and Andreas Cornelius and Joshua Zirkzee in the centre.

Coach Roberto D'Aversa has two other strikers - Roberto Inglese and Graziano Pelle - unavailable, in addition to Vincent Laurini, Hernani and Maxime Busi. In defence, veteran centre-back Bruno Alves is in contention to regain a starting place, ahead of Yordan Osorio.

As Udinese's long injury list continues to substantially shorten, only Fernando Forestieri, Sebastian Prodl, Ignacio Pussetto and Mato Jajalo are ruled out, though integral attacking threats Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu remain doubtful.

New striker Fernando Llorente has drawn a blank in his first two starts, so Stefano Okaka - recently returned to fitness after a long layoff - will compete for the centre-forward's shirt, in what should be a relatively settled side.

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Conti, Alves, Bani, Gagliolo; Kucka, Brugman, Kurtic; Karamoh, Cornelius, Gervinho

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, Nuytinck, Bonifazi; Stryger Larsen, De Paul, Arslan, Walace, Zeegelaar; Deulofeu, Llorente

SM words green background

We say: Parma 1-1 Udinese

Parma must surely end their goalless run at the Tardini this weekend, as some of their new signings start to settle into their surroundings. However, prospects of the Emilians keeping a clean sheet remain slim, as a combination of personnel and organisational deficiencies still undermine their cause.

An away point against the major European leagues' worst-performing side of 2021 may not seem satisfactory for Udinese, but their attack has not exactly been razor-sharp either.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data

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Bayern Munich's Joshua Zirkzee pictured in September 2020
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