Out-of-sorts Juventus head to Dacia Arena to encounter bottom-half Udinese in their final game of the 2022/23 Serie A season. Sunday’s game won’t affect the home side’s placing but could make a world of difference for the visitors.
Udinese cannot better last season’s 12th-place finish, regardless of the results on the final weekend. Therefore, it’s no wonder Andrea Sottil’s men have lost interest in domestic proceedings, as witnessed by their dismal three-game losing streak in Serie A, bookended by a 3-2 defeat at Salernitana last time out.
They at least netted twice in Salerno following back-to-back scoring blanks against Lazio and Fiorentina. But considering this game is a rather tepid affair from a competitive standpoint, maybe Udinese could still stun the odds as they have nothing to lose. It may turn them into a formidable opposition, something Juventus would unlikely want to hear.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Milan last weekend, officially bowing out of the Champions League qualification race. But it’s the least of the visitors’ problems as they enter the season finale seventh, one point below sixth-placed Roma. It means they depend on the results elsewhere to avoid Europa Conference League football next season.
In addition to massive off-field problems related to the point deduction for inflating players’ prices to balance their books, Juventus have failed to impress on the pitch. They’ve lost back-to-back Serie A matches and lost to Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals in only seven days. As such, their confidence may be at the ultimate low on the final weekend.
Despite their woeful three-game losing run in the build-up to this match, it’s not all lost for Udinese yet. They’ve been hard to beat at Dacia Arena this term, suffering just three defeats in 18 Serie A outings on home turf. However, Sottil’s men have been a textbook definition of ‘stalemate specialists,’ drawing 50% of their home league games in 2022/23 (9/18).
Udinese wouldn’t mind another share of the spoils, knowing they’ve been on the losing side in nine of their last 11 top-flight meetings with Juventus (W1, D1). Furthermore, they conceded an alarming average of 2.6 goals per match during that sequence, which contrasts their rock-solid defensive form in Udine. Indeed, the hosts have managed two clean sheets in their last four league fixtures at Dacia Arena, conceding one goal apiece in the other two (W2, D1, L1).
Player to Watch: Roberto Pereyra
Despite approaching the autumn of his playing career, Pereyra has enjoyed a stellar league campaign, tallying five goals and seven assists. He could make his 200th appearance for Udinese on Sunday, and what better way to celebrate that milestone than by adding to his decent-looking record?
Juventus’ travel sickness has seen them register just one win on their eight competitive road trips since the beginning of April (D3, L4). That’s not to mention they slipped to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at perennial bottom-half strugglers Empoli on their most recent Serie A travel. Considering they scored one goal or fewer in seven of those eight matches, Allegri has plenty to worry about ahead of this journey.
The Italian manager has lost ten league games in a season for the first time since the 2009/10 Serie A campaign with Cagliari. With Juventus fans growing frustrated with Allegri’s clueless tactics and in-game management, this could be the ex-Milan boss’ final match in charge of the record-time Serie A champions. But he may not have fond memories of it unless his men defy a disappointing run of losing their final game in three of the last four seasons (W1).
Player to Watch: Arkadiusz Milik
Though Milik has only scored once in his last ten Serie A outings, the Polish striker should be confident about finding the net on Sunday. He’s got on the scoresheet three times in his last five league matches against Udinese.
Rodrigo Becao and Adam Masina’s availability is uncertain as they missed training during the midweek. On the other hand, Enzo Ebosse, Festy Ebosele, and Kingsley Ehizibue have already been confirmed as unavailable. Udinese will also be without Jaka Bijol and Marvin Zeegelaar due to suspension.
As for Juventus, alongside Paul Pogba, Nicolo Fagioli, and Mattia De Sciglio, Dusan Vlahovic will likely remain on the sidelines. Due to the risk involved, Bremer may not be included, which could lead to captain Leonardo Bonucci taking charge of the visitors’ defensive trio in the season finale on Sunday.
Udinese vs Juventus Potential Lineups
Udinese (3-4-1-1): Marco Silvestri; James Abankwah, Nehuen Perez, Buta; Roberto Pereyra, Tolgay Arslan, Walace, Sandi Lovric, Destiny Udogie; Lazard Samardzic; Beto.
Juventus (3-4-1-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Federico Gatti, Leonardo Bonucci, Danilo; Juan Cuadrado, Fabio Miretti, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Angel Di Maria; Arkadiusz Milik.
Udinese vs Juventus Prediction
Only a few teams have managed to secure more than a point when visiting Udine, whereas Juventus tend to struggle when playing away from home. So we expect a closely-contested encounter.
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