MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 20:36:31| >> :600:4944756:4944756:
May 2, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Friuli
Molina (10')
Arslan (44'), Pereyra (55'), De Paul (83')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Ronaldo (83' pen., 89')
Pirlo (90+1')

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

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

After another underwhelming result last weekend, outgoing champions Juventus meet Udinese on Sunday, with their top-four place still in serious jeopardy.

While the Bianconeri are bound for a nail-biting climax to the Serie A season - but with only Champions League qualification at stake, rather than their defence of the Scudetto - the hosts are close to confirming their survival in the top flight: sitting eight points above the drop zone.

Match preview

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Under-presure coach Andrea Pirlo admitted that his inconsistent Juventus side put in another sub-par performance in their draw at lowly Fiorentina last weekend, as they again disappointed on their travels.

Though Alvaro Morata scored a second-half equaliser less than a minute after coming off the bench at Stadio Artemio Franchi, that was Juve's only shot on target in a game where they bossed the ball, but to little effect.

As Pirlo's future remains deeply uncertain, everything now rests on the Turin giants' qualification for next season's Champions League - an absolute minimum requirement which his team must fulfil. Recent results, though, have left third-placed Juventus locked on 66 points with Napoli and Milan going into the weekend's action, while Lazio continue to lurk close behind.

The Coppa Italia finalists, who face Atalanta in the showpiece final - due to host a limited number of fans, it has been confirmed - have now won just three of their last seven league games after crashing out of the Champions League and are in danger of receiving a swift comeuppance, given the club president's apparent derision for Europe's elite competition.

Of late, the Bianconeri have toiled somewhat in the final third, as top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo's rare failure to hit the net in his last three starts (the last time he missed out four times in a row was back in 2017) has come amid rumours of a summer departure - and the absence of bright spark Federico Chiesa from the attack has further undermined their cause.

Nevertheless, Juventus have won six of their last seven Serie A games against Udinese ahead of their trip to the Dacia Arena, racking up 14 goals in their last five visits. They will, therefore, see a viable chance to add to a relatively meagre tally of 25 away points so far this season - currently fewer than any other team in the top six of the standings.

Udinese head coach Luca Gotti pictured on February 14, 2021© Reuters

Last Sunday lunchtime, Udinese may have fashioned far fewer chances than relegation-threatened opponents Benevento - not to mention far less of the ball - but ultimately emerged with a 4-2 win.

Exciting young forward Jayden Braaf featured again at the Vigorito - striking the fourth goal for the visitors - and the on-loan Manchester City teenager is expected to be offered further opportunities to excel, given his impact in recent rounds.

A rare success in the final third for a side which has struggled to hit the net on a consistent basis saw the Zebrette pull closer to the top half of the table and within touching distance of confirming their place on the start line for Serie A's 2021-22 campaign.

Four defeats in their previous five matches had underlined the frailties within Luca Gotti's squad, but hopes of catching 10th-placed Verona remain realistic - as Hellas have been toiling of late and Udinese are now just two points behind.

They do, however, still have to face both Napoli and Inter in the closing weeks, shortly after taking on a wounded Juventus side. The last time the two clubs met, in January, Udinese fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Allianz Stadium, so will be seeking a significant upgrade on that result back on home turf.

Udinese Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Juventus Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Team News

Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus on January 3, 2021© Reuters

Juventus have only central defender Merih Demiral absent for Sunday's game, as winger Federico Chiesa has overcome a thigh problem and should be involved at the Dacia Arena.

Coach Andrea Pirlo is expected to make changes, however, with Paulo Dybala's return from a series of layoffs still far from a success - last week's scorer Alvaro Morata could therefore start alongside Capocannoniere leader Cristiano Ronaldo in the visitors' attack.

Midfielder Arthur is also in contention for a place in the Juve engine room, with Aaron Ramsey's spot in the team most under threat, as Pirlo considers a return to a four-man defence after reverting to three in Florence.

For the home side, much-admired goalkeeper Juan Musso is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, while highly-rated Jayden Braaf sprained his knee during training and will be assessed ahead of the game.

As Ilija Nestorovski recently joined Gerard Deulofeu and Ignacio Pussetto in being ruled out for the rest of the season, Braaf was set to make only his second start for the Friulani, having scored against Benevento last week. If the Dutch starlet is unavailable, then a more conventional target-man such as Stefano Okaka or Fernando Llorente - formerly of Juventus - will start as Udinese's lone striker.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Scuffet; Becao, Nuytinck, Bonifazi; Molina, De Paul, Walace, Arslan, Stryger Larsen; Pereyra; Okaka

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Arthur, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo

SM words green background

We say: Udinese 0-2 Juventus

Having lost each of their last three home games by one goal to nil, Udinese appear ill-placed to take advantage of Juve's current inconsistencies, so may find that their barren run on Fruilian soil continues.

A lack of goal threat often undermines the hosts' neat play, so despite the promptings of in-demand skipper Rodrigo De Paul, expect them to come out of this encounter empty-handed - as their more illustrious Bianconeri counterparts take another uncertain step towards a top-four finish.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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Aaron Ramsey in action for Juventus on February 27, 2021
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Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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