MX23RW : Saturday, January 16 09:22:07| >> :120:33828:33828:
Jan 20, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Friuli
UdineseUdinese
vs.
AtalantaAtalanta BC

Preview: Udinese vs. Atalanta BC - prediction, team news, lineups

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

A buoyant Udinese welcome out-of-form Atalanta BC to Stadio Friuli on Sunday, as they bask in the glow of a 3-1 win over Lazio last time out.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side, meanwhile, have stuttered either side of an historic victory at Anfield last month and slowly slipped down the standings after taking only two points from their last three Serie A games.


Match preview

Atalanta BC head coach Gian Piero Gasperini pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Atalanta have not registered maximum points in the league since the end of October, against lowly Crotone. Another disappointing draw against Danish champions Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday also sees La Dea's spot in the last 16 of Europe's premier competition under threat from Ajax, against whom they must now avoid defeat in order to progress next week.

It is a far cry from their meteoric start to the campaign and the strain of playing almost every three days seems to have caused Gasperini's men to lose some of their furious attacking intensity. The resultant slump in league form has seen them slip to seventh place in the standings, on 15 points from nine games.

The Nerazzurri have now lost lost three of their last six league games, as many as in their previous 28 Serie A fixtures. In that spell they claimed all three points in 20 games, in the process of charming observers with relentless verve and clinical finishing.

Atalanta won 7-1 in the first meeting of last season with Udinese - the second largest margin in their top-flight history - and generally enjoy encounters with the Friulian club. Their winning streak in this particular fixture currently stands at five and Gasperini is determined that fine run will not be broken on Sunday.

The much-lauded coach is expected to field a strong XI at Stadio Friuli, even with next week's decisive Champions League match in mind. Former Udinese men Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel are at the forefront of his attacking plans, though the Colombian strike duo have gone cold in front of goal so far this term.

Muriel played 57 league games for Udinese, scoring 15 goals and he registered his only ever Serie A hat-trick against them in last term's seven-goal mauling.

A collective 20 attempts resulted in just five shots on target in last week's 2-0 home reverse against Verona though, so Muriel, Zapata and company must step up their efforts in order to pick off what will be a virus-affected Udinese side.

Udinese manager Luca Gotti pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Five of the hosts' playing squad reportedly contracted COVID-19 just before last weekend's fixture, although the club have not yet confirmed their identities. Udinese coach Luca Gotti was also missing from the touchline in Rome, therby ruining his finely-calibrated preparations.

A recent positive spike in form could therefore be threatened by several absences, which would be frustrating for Gotti as in his team's last three games, seven points have been gained - helping them climb out of the bottom three up to thirteenth place.

The necessary switch to Plan B against Lazio last time did not seem to hamper Udinese's revival though, as they produced a shock 3-1 win at Stadio Olimpico - with replacement strikers Fernando Forestieri and Ignacio Pussetto both bagging a goal in a most unlikely triumph.

With opponents Atalanta having leaked 16 league goals so far, the Bianconeri's back-up plan could yet prove enough to pick up some further against-the-odds points this Sunday.

Udinese Serie A form: WLLDWW
Udinese form (all competitions): WLDWLW

Atalanta BC Serie A form: LLWDDL
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): LDDWLD


Team News

Ignacio Pussetto in action for Udinese on April 2, 2019© Reuters

Home boss Luca Gotti is without a long list of absentees on Sunday. Sebastian De Maio, Jean-Victor Makengo, on-loan midfielder Rolando Mandragora, plus first-choice striker Stefano Okaka, wing-back Thomas Ouwejan, Ilija Nestorovski and Tolgay Arslan (suspended) are ruled out.

Also in doubt is the involvement of out-of-form forward Kevin Lasagna, so Pussetto and Forestieri will start up front in a 3-5-2 formation.

The visitors also have a handful of injury issues, most pressing being the absence of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, who was substituted after damaging his post-surgery left knee last week through hyper-extension, so Marco Sportiello will deputise.

Dutch forward Sam Lammers is questionable with an ankle sprain, while midfielder Mario Pasalic is beset by a groin problem that has plagued him recently and Aleksey Miranchuk tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

However, Ruslan Malinovskyi returned from self-isolation, while Fabio Depaoli has now recovered from a thigh injury. Neither is expected to start though, as Gasperini could name a close to full-strength side.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Larsen, De Paul, Jajalo, Pereyra, Zeegelar; Forestieri, Pussetto

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Sportiello; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Gomez, Ilicic; Zapata


SM words green background

We say: Udinese 0-1 Atalanta BC

Udinese's upturn in fortunes is certainly no fluke, as their misfiring forwards have finally looked like stirring into life, but the hosts have been hit hard by injury and illness once more.

Their opponents on Saturday have flattered to deceive this term, with rank inconsistency setting in to a multi-talented squad. Therefore, a close affair could be on the cards at Stadio Friuli, with Atalanta just edging it.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win 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.Home/Away:data


ID:424369:cQx

Who will win Sunday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Atalanta?

Udinese
Draw
Atalanta BC
Udinese
23.0%
Draw
15.8%
Atalanta BC
61.2%
183
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan17124137191840
2Inter Milan17114243232037
3Roma1810443729834
4Juventus1696135161933
5Napoli16101534161831
6Atalanta BCAtalanta1694340221831
7Lazio189453025531
8SassuoloSassuolo178543026429
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona177642216627
10BeneventoBenevento176382030-1021
11Sampdoria176292628-220
12Fiorentina174671823-518
13Bologna174582331-817
14SpeziaSpezia174582332-917
15Udinese164481825-716
16CagliariCagliari173592334-1114
17Genoa173591830-1214
18Torino172692635-912
19Parma172691333-2012
20Crotone1723121740-239

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