Preview: Juventus vs Udinese – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

The Serie A title race is gaining momentum as Juventus entertain bottom-half Udinese in a must-win clash at the Allianz Stadium. Monday’s encounter in Turin drops the curtain on Gameweek 24 and promises a fiercely-contested game, given what’s at stake. 

After Inter came from behind to beat Roma 4-2 on Saturday and go seven points clear at the top of the table, Juventus can’t afford a slip-up if they’re to stay relevant in the Scudetto battle. Massimiliano Allegri’s men are in uncharted territory after a 1-0 defeat to the Nerazzurri in last weekend’s Derby d’Italia condemned them to back-to-back winless matches for the first time this season.

Federico Gatti’s own goal knocked Juventus down from a long-standing unbeaten run in domestic football. Having lost their first Serie A game since mid-September, the record-time Italian champions return home, seeking amends for a frustrating 1-1 draw against relegation-battling Empoli in their last outing in Turin.

Visiting Udinese seem powerless to stop that after yet another gut-wrenching draw last time out. Gabriele Cioffi’s side shared the spoils with Monza in a scoreless stalemate on home turf, extending their winless start to the new calendar year to five league matches (D2, L3). Despite attempting 21 shots, the Friulians had to settle for their 13th Serie A draw this season.

Stranded in the lower reaches, just outside the drop zone, albeit level on points with 18th-placed Hellas Verona ahead of the kick-off, Udinese would probably sign up for another draw. But they’ll have to earn it after losing their last eight league visits to Juventus.

Match Preview

Juventus

Juventus desperately need three points here to stay within striking distance of table-topping Inter. Defensive solidity has been essential to the Bianconeri‘s unexpected title pursuit this season as 11 of their 16 Serie A victories have come ‘to nil.’ 

However, Juventus could go three consecutive league games without a clean sheet for only the second time this season after conceding against Inter and Empoli. It may not derail their chances of overcoming Udinese in a ninth successive home meeting in Serie A.

That’s because they have netted four goals in three of the last six matches against the Friulians they’ve hosted. On top of that, Juventus dismantled Cioffi’s troops 3-0 in the reverse fixture in August 2023.

Udinese

Udinese’s proclivities for draws have been off the charts in Serie A this season, playing out at least four more tied matches than any other side. That’s perhaps the main reason they are beleaguered in such a precarious position and limited to only two wins after 23 rounds for the first time since 1979/80.

That’s an ominous piece of history, considering Udinese maintained their top-flight status that year only thanks to Milan and Lazio’s relegation for match-fixing. But it’s hard to expect Cioffi’s team to start picking up much-needed points on the road, especially in Turin.

Not only did Udinese last win at the Allianz Stadium in 2015, but they’re winless on five Serie A travels on the trot in the build-up to this trip. Conceding five goals beyond the 80th minute during that sequence highlights the significance of maintaining concentration in the latter stages.

Team News

In addition to long-term absentees Mattia De Sciglio, Nicoló Fagioli, Paul Pogba, and Moise Kean, Juventus can’t call upon suspended Danilo and injured Dusan Vlahovic. That means Alex Sandro and Arkadiusz Milik should return to the starting XI to fill the vacancies.

As for Udinese, Jaka Bijol, Gerard Deulofeu, and Enzo Ebosse are in the treatment room, while Roberto Pereyra serves a one-game ban after accumulating yellow cards. 

Juventus vs Udinese Potential Lineups

Juventus (3-5-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Federico Gatti, Gleison Bremer, Alex Sandro; Weston McKennie, Fabio Miretti, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Kostic; Kenan Yildiz, Arkadiusz Milik.

Udinese (3-5-1-1): Maduka Okoye; Nehuen Perez, Lautaro Giannetti, Thomas Kristensen; Festy Ebosele, Sandi Lovric, Walace, Lazar Samardzic, Jordan Zemura; Florian Thauvin; Lorenzo Lucca.

Juventus vs Udinese Prediction

Four consecutive Serie A shutouts against Udinese put Juventus in the driver’s seat to get back to winning ways and throw their visitors’ underwhelming league campaign into further disarray. 

Without Dusan Vlahovic, packing a punch could prove an elusive feat for Allegri’s charges, but we expect Juventus to get into the win column, nonetheless.

Prediction: Juventus Win

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