MX23RW : Thursday, February 25 15:53:24| >> :600:403985:403985:
Jan 20, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Friuli
UdineseUdinese
1-1
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Pereyra (1')
Pereyra (11'), Zeegelaar (75'), Bonifazi (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Muriel (44')
Freuler (83'), Romero (90+3')

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

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

Two teams heading in very different directions meet on Wednesday, as Serie A's form side Atalanta BC travel to the Dacia Arena to take on fast-sinking Udinese.

In a rearranged fixture that was initially rained off in early December, Luca Gotti's men host visitors that have won seven of their last 10 games in all competitions.


Match preview

Atalanta BC players celebrate scoring against FC Midtjylland on October 21, 2020© Reuters

The first attempt at staging this match was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch last month. After three pitch inspections, huge puddles all over the Stadio Friuli pitch persuaded officials to move the meeting to a later date.

Perhaps only another timely intervention from the weather can save struggling Udinese this time around, as Atalanta have reached top gear in the intervening period - though they did surprisingly draw a rare blank against Genoa last weekend.

La Dea failed to breach the Grifone's much-improved defence during a goalless draw, in an unusually ineffective attacking display which was thwarted by the Ligurians' excellent rearguard action.

A sum total of two shots on target came as even more of a surprise given Atalanta had racked up 18 goals in their previous six matches - at an impressive average of three per game.

Rediscovering the free-flowing abandon of their recent past, Gian Piero Gasperini's side have not lost since the end of November to sit sixth in the standings. Last week, they progressed to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia too, easily beating Cagliari 3-1.

With games against Milan and Lazio next up in their Serie A schedule, Wednesday night could prove the perfect opportunity to pick up three more points to stay in the top-four hunt.

Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Udinese captain Rodrigo De Paul gave his side the lead against Sampdoria last week, as the Friuliani looked to finally end a horrific run of form, but ultimately they left Genoa without even a point after conceding Antonio Candreva's 'Panenka' spot-kick and a devastating late Ernesto Torregrossa header.

Following that seventh successive failure to win, the supposed Liverpool and Real Madrid target revealed that he sets 'no limits' on his future career - an inevitable but ill-timed reminder to his coach that the inspirational skipper has one eye on the door.

Now clinging on grimly to his position, Gotti will need all the assistance he can get from senior stars such as De Paul, as his team sit just three points above the drop zone and must face the league's most prolific outfits - Atalanta and Inter Milan - before the end of the month.

Formerly an assistant to Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, Gotti must find a way to reconfigure his plethora of attacking options. Having mixed and matched a wide range of alternatives all season long, none have truly convinced for an outfit with just 19 goals registered to date - one of the least effective attacks in the top flight.

Facing an Atalanta attacking unit now approaching their fluent best, on Wednesday, Udinese will somehow have to break not only their desperate current winless streak, but also a string of defeats to the Bergamaschi going back five league games.

Udinese Serie A form: DLLDLL

Atalanta BC Serie A form: WDWWWD
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): DWWWWD


Team News

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

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has an increasingly deep pool of talent from which to choose and should return to the trusted Matteo Pessina in support of former Udinese striker Duvan Zapata, with Ruslan Malinovskyi dropping to the bench. Cristian Romero is also likely to take over from Jose Luis Palomino in central defence.

Midfielder Mario Pasalic is the main doubt for Wednesday, but in any case the midfield four in Atalanta's 3-4-2-1 is a settled unit - with tireless duo Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens on the flanks and Marten de Roon and Remo Freuler occupying the centre.

Luca Gotti must manage a significant injury list for Udinese, with Mato Jajalo and Ignacio Pussetto both out for the season, plus Stefano Okaka, Fernando Forestieri, Sebastian Prodl and Bram Nuytinck all still unavailable.

Gerard Deulofeu was back on the bench at the weekend and could feature at some stage, with Roberto Pereyra and star man Rodrigo De Paul playing in support of hapless lone striker Kevin Lasagna.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Bonifazi, Becao, Samir; Larsen, De Paul, Arslan, Mandragora, Zeegelaar; Pereyra; Lasagna

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina, Miranchuk; Zapata


SM words green background

We say: Udinese 1-2 Atalanta BC

The chasm in confidence between two sides could hardly be wider, as one of Calcio's hottest attacking forces visit one of the coldest.

Though Udinese are rarely blown away by opponents, the Zebrette surely cannot hold back Zapata, Ilicic and company for a full 90 minutes, so must surely fall to another depressing defeat.


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:431054:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Udinese vs Atalanta

Udinese
16.9%
Draw
12.8%
Atalanta BC
70.3%
360
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Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul pictured in July 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan23165257243353
2AC Milan23154445281749
3Juventus22136344192545
4Roma23135547351244
5Atalanta BCAtalanta23127453312243
6Lazio2313463830843
7Napoli22131847252240
8SassuoloSassuolo239863734335
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona239773026434
10Sampdoria2393113334-130
11Genoa236892633-726
12BeneventoBenevento2367102542-1725
13Fiorentina2367102535-1025
14Bologna2367103037-725
15Udinese2367102533-825
16SpeziaSpezia2366113041-1124
17Torino2331193341-820
18CagliariCagliari2336142441-1715
19Parma2328131745-2814
20Crotone2333172355-3212

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