Soccer: The Italian Serie A

Juventus v Udinese – Saturday 28th January – Juventus Stadium (21:45)

Juventus v Udinese

The Italian Serie A is heating up in what looks to be a 4 horse titel race. Champions AC Milan trail log leaders Juventus by 1 point while Udinese are keeping the pressure on the top 2, trailing Juventus by just 3 points and Inter Milan have raised their game and find themselves just 6 points off Juventus after 7 wins in a row. This weekend see’s Juventus host 3rd placed Udinese in what is a mouth watering clash.

Juventus sit top of the Serie A unbeaten in 19 games. The most successful Italian club have gone 9 years without winning the Serie A title and look determined to bring back the clubs glory days this season. They are coming off a good 2-0 away win over Atalanta, who only suffered 1 home loss until last Saturday. Their unbeaten run this season must be attributed to the ever so solid Italian centre back Chiellini and his defence. Juve have conceded just 12 goals in 19 games, which is the best defensive record in the league. In the centre of the midfield is where Juventus dominate with the quality of Andrea Pirlo spreading the passes and Claudio Marchisio doing the dirty work and using his vision going forward. Winger Simone Pepe has proved a key player and his stregnth and pace will give Udinese defenders a tough day.

Udinese kept up the chase of Juventus at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over Catania last weekend. Left wing-back Pablo Armero put the hosts in front in the 20th minute and their top scorer Antonio Di Natale got his name on the scoresheet once again to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Di Natale has now scored in 13 of Udinese’s 14 home matches, boosting his chances of earning a call-up to the Italy squad for Euro 2012 as he remains on course to clinch the Serie A top goalscorer award for the third season running. At the moment he is joint top scorer with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 14 goals, which accounts for half of Undinese’s 28 goals this season. Udinese have been superb at home winning 9 and drawing just 1 out of 10 matches. However they have been poor away from home having won just 2 of their 9 matches. Their 3-5-2 formation, using 2 wing backs, has seen them concede the 2nd least goals behind Juventus and the under 2.5 goals market looks a good bet with the leagues two best defences facing each other.

Udinese did manage a 2-1 win here last season but their away form this season doesn’t likely to serve up a similar result. Juventus have conceded just 6 goals at home while Udinese have failed to score in 4 of their 9 away matches. Juventus are tipped to extend their league at the top of the table with a victory here.

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