MX23RW : Tuesday, April 13 19:19:37| >> :600:354507:354507:
Mar 6, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Friuli
Llorente (42'), Pereyra (90+3')
De Paul (53')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

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

Following dramatic draws against Serie A big guns in midweek, both Udinese and fellow mid-table side Sassuolo will be seeking maximum points when they meet at the Dacia Arena on Saturday evening.

While the Zebrette saw victory against Milan snatched from their grasp in the dying seconds, their visitors this weekend managed to rescue a point in a six-goal thriller with Napoli.

Match preview

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

Udinese continued their recent upward trend on Wednesday, even though a dramatic denouement at San Siro - when opponents Milan were gifted a last-minute penalty - denied them a third win in six games and their biggest scalp of the season.

Leading 1-0 deep into stoppage time, reliable wing-back Jens Stryger Larsen bizarrely handled in the box to give the ever-accurate Franck Kessie an invitation to equalise from the spot, which the dead-eyed Ivorian duly accepted. As a result, Udinese have now only won one of their last eight away games.

Nonetheless, only four members of Calcio's current seven-club elite have picked up more points than Luca Gotti's much-improved side in the last six Serie A rounds, as they have travelled gradually towards their expected station of mid-table obscurity, having previously flirted with the relegation places.

Though Gotti has tried any number of forward options, goals have remained relatively hard to come by for his under-powered strikeforce, but an impressive recent defensive record has significantly helped his cause.

Such rearguard resilience will surely be called upon at the weekend, as their Emilian opponents have seemingly rediscovered their free-flowing qualities in the final third which made them such a threat to the established order during the autumn.

Even in spite of their relatively disparate fortunes in recent seasons, Udinese have in fact got the better of Sassuolo of late, going unbeaten in the last five Serie A encounters between the clubs since March 2018.

Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Coming into this weekend's assignment shortly after playing their part in surely one of the games of the season, Sassuolo will have little time to reflect on an extraordinary draw at the Mapei Stadium during the week. With two late penalties - one for either side; Sassuolo's coming in the sixth minute of injury time - the hosts striking the woodwork twice and a Napoli goal disallowed, a 3-3 result was perhaps the fairest outcome.

Having had their previous scheduled outing postponed at short notice, due to a COVID-19 outbreak in opponents Torino's squad, Sassuolo had the luxury of several extra days to prepare for the Neapolitans' visit. Despite their relief, then, Roberto De Zerbi's men will ultimately be frustrated to have seen their winless streak on home turf extended to a fourth game.

If they are to pull off a late-season comeback and claim a place in continental competition - most unlikely given a seven-point deficit following the midweek round - the Neroverdi must find the winning formula again quickly. Now that Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo - both heavily involved versus Napoli - are back in tandem after injury struggles, the immediate future does, though, appear brighter for the ninth-placed side.

Visiting Friuli will hold few fears for them too, as they have collected more away points (21) than at home (15) so far and have scored at a rate of nearly two goals per game when on the road. With six wins and three draws posted away from the Mapei Stadium this season, Sassuolo can therefore tackle one of their recent bogey teams with a growing measure of confidence on Saturday.

Udinese Serie A form: WWLDWD

Sassuolo Serie A form: LDLWDD

Team News

Rodrigo De Paul in action for Juventus on January 3, 2021© Reuters

After setting up in a more reactive 3-5-1-1 system away to Milan, Udinese head coach Luca Gotti is expected to bring target man Fernando Llorente back into the attack alongside Ilija Nestorovski, with Roberto Pereyra dropping into a deeper role in midfield. Inspirational captain Rodrigo De Paul and Tolgay Arslan should join Pereyra in the central three, as Jean-Victor Makengo misses out.

Gotti should have injury-hit trio Gerard Deulofeu (knee), Fernando Forestieri (thigh) and Thomas Ouwejan (foot) available, after the latter pair made their return to the bench at San Siro.

Despite the rapid turnaround of fixtures, Sassuolo may remain relatively unchanged - particularly considering the momentum gained by saving their last game in dramatic circumstances and they essentially had a free week beforehand, after their previous contest was postponed.

Domenico Berardi and Filip Djuricic are set to start behind 'Ciccio' Caputo once again, while Hamed Traore may come back in for French forward Gregoire Defrel, with winger Jeremie Boga still out of commission. Midfielder Mehdi Bourabia and Vlad Chiriches - whose expected return has been delayed - will remain sidelined too.

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

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Marlon, Ferrari, Rogerio; Lopez, Locatelli; Berardi, Djuricic, Traore; Caputo

SM words green background

We say: Udinese 1-1 Sassuolo

The form table would indicate that there should be little chance of an away win at the Dacia Arena, as Udinese have been admirably resilient lately, losing just once in the past eight rounds - to Roma, at their previously impenetrable Stadio Olimpico fortress.

Though Sassuolo have, conversely, prevailed just once during their past eight outings, signs of life have begun to flicker during back-to-back draws in recent days and there is every chance of a positive result for the Neroverdi.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home 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 Win:data

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Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring against Lazio in Serie A on February 14, 2021
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