Udinese, Juventus
Match Preview Serie A

Udinese vs Juventus Match Preview and Scouting

March 4, 2017 - 4:57 pm


Udinese v Juventus

Serie A Week 27 –  Sunday, 5th March – 14:00 GMT – Stadio Friuli



Besides the pointless complains about the refereeing, the Coppa Italia tilt against Napoli was very compelling and revealing. Juventus started the game with a 3-4-1-2, or something similar, only to find out very soon that scheme with a three-man defence does not work anymore. Napoli were better in the first half and found the first goal with a well-designed action, where Kwadwo Asamoah was caught out of position. Luckily, the second half was much better and the squad gained a commanding lead ahead of the return leg, which will be played in a month.

My takeaway is that at this point of the year there is no time to improvise new formations: the coaching staff needs to ride 4-2-3-1, which has become indispensable in so little time, and eventually scale it back from a defensive standpoint during the games as they have often done effectively over the last month. The team has conceded very little with this tactic and Giorgio Chiellini explained why very clearly: even though they are not very stout on paper, they are more aggressive and especially more compact, there is much more density and that makes it easier to win the ball back and makes the defence less exposed to counter-attacks.

On Sunday, the Juventus will face Udinese at the regular time (3 pm in Italy), something that I despise very much but likely does not happen that often. The next match will be on Friday, so the lads will have a good amount of time to recover. However, it looks like the squad will be rotating heavily once again.

Gianluigi Buffon will be on goal, while the competion to start in the defence is pretty much wide open. Dani Alves and Alex Sandro are the favourites on the flanks, while there is much more uncertainty about the center-backs. The coach stated that he will choose between Giorgio Chiellini and Medhi Benatia, but it is not quite sure who their partner would be as it is not a slam dunk that Leonardo Bonucci will start. Benatia is a former Udinese player, so he could have extra motivation.

In the midfield, Stefano Sturaro will be sidelined because of a mild abdomen injury. I will have to say that him being used out of position has been my least favourite detail since the tactical switch, however the squad is thin upfront so we will have to live with that. Claudio Marchisio was held out of the Napoli bout but it was a really minor knee ailment and he is available and is the frontrunner to start, especially should Miralem Pjanic be rested. Tomas Rincon is the other option.

For a brief moment yesterday, it looked like Gonzalo Higuain was headed to the bench, but then the reports corrected the course and he is slated to start. Obviously, he is the one that played the most lately but I do not think this role is particularly tiring for him. Then, of course, he is thriving and that can make the fatigue go away. Massimiliano Allegri confirmed in the pre-game presser that the attack will remain the same as the last few matches.

Probable lineup: 

4-2-3-1: Buffon; Alves, Benatia, Bonucci, Sandro; Khedira, Marchisio; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain.


Sturaro (abdomen), Mandragora (foot)





Udinese are having a very uninspiring year: they are in fourteenth position and they have lost three games in a row. Their appointments have been rather boring: first Giuseppe Iachini and then Luigi Delneri. Themaudacious team from the four-five years ago seems long gone. They have unearthed some good players, but not some franchise-altering ones.

Rodrigo De Paul has been up and down all year, bouncing from position to position. Delneri is using him as right winger: he has some interesting dribbling skills, but he is not very quick and he is not a good finisher at all. He is a decent contributor, but not a game-wrecker. Adalberto Penaranda did not pan out and was sent back to Watford. Jakub Jankto, who was extremely solid at Ascoli last season, has grown into a dependable player and he is also rather versatile. The most interesting addition was Seko Fofana, a very elegant yet physical midfielder that they will be able to profit on in a big way.

They will be without Assane Gnoukouri, who unfortunately has been diagnosed with a heart condition right after his loan move in January, Davide Faraoni and Lucas Evangelista because of knee injuries. They are not starters. However, their leader Cyril Thereau is questionable and might miss the game: he routinely trains on his own for the whole week but the pre-game practice because of nagging knee problems, but this time around he has not re-joined the rest of the group on Friday. Delneri has confirmed that he will not play and will be spared for more feasibile match-ups.

They have few options to replace him: the most defensive one is Jantko, a winger turned into box-to-box midfield, in the trident. The other ones are Stipe Perica and Ryder Matos, who are definitely more offensive-minded. Nonetheless, they lose a lot both in playmaking and scoring without the French forward, who has carried them with nine goals since late October.

The defence will be very stingy and experienced: Silvan Widmer, Danilo, Felipe and Samir. Emil Hallfredsson has missed the last game because of a suspension but should return in his new role as deep-lying midfielder, supplanting Sven Kums. With Jankto more advanced, the midfield will be completed by Emmanuel Badu and Fofana. In the attack, the lack of scoring by Duvan Zapata has been an issue, but he remains a force to be reckon with because he is so muscular.

Their counter-attacking game is predictably very strong and almost their only source of offense. They have few long-distance shooters and also a good number of tall players good in the air, so Juventus will have to be very careful on set pieces. They will probably deploy a very conservative game plan, so the guys will have to take their time to work around the defence.

Probable lineup: 

4-2-3-1: Karnezis; Widmer, Danilo, Felipe, Samir; Badu, Hallfredsson, Fofana; De Paul, Zapata, Jankto. 


Thereau (knee), Gnoukouri (heart), Faraoni (knee), Evangelista (knee). 





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  • Avatar
    Page March 4, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    You may want to update that “Injuries: Mandragora (foot)”
    Mandragora has been fit and training for some weeks now. He was on the bench for Juve-Napoli and was also selected for another couple of previous games.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet March 4, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      He has been on the bench for the Inter game and for the coppa tie of late, other than which returning to sharpness slowly but surely with the primavera, mate.
      5/2 – Bench v Inter h 1-0
      11/2 Sassuolo A 4-2 U19 Played 45 minutes
      18/2 Avellino H 5-0 U19 Played 90 minutes
      28/2 Napoli 3-1 H Bench

      The injury seemed more serious than first thought as his recovery is taking too long for a simple fracture to heal. If he was in fine shape we would have allowed him to go out on loan rather than keep him at Piedmont to monitor his progress carefully.

      We really do have very high hopes for the lad. The 6m – can rise to 12m – was a huge investment for an 18 year old. I hope to see him appear for the first team this season. Our new formation suits his natural DM/ regista talents perfectly.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef March 4, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Disappionted Pjaca should start this one. Udinese are no match for us.Look at the formations if we are at 100% no team in Italy can match us few in Europe can.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet March 5, 2017 at 1:24 am

    ““With Coman we have an option that is valid until April 30. He had a few difficulties after the Euros, but lately has returned to his usual level. We will probably activate the option to buy.

    “Benatia’s talent cannot be debated, but unfortunately he has been penalised by some physical problems. In any case, I think he will stay in Turin, as we have a pretty clear agreement with Juventus.” – Rummenigge, Bayern DS

    Coman can be made permanent for 21m. Benatia can be signed for 17m.
    Medhi has managed just 11 appearances for Juve this season. Is that enough to warrant signing him?

    Is it enough for the player who seems 5th choice of five centre-backs? Barzagli may well slow down next term but still has the experience and physical form to remain ahead of Benatia in the pecking order.

    I have not been particularly impressed with him, yet he has not had much of a chance to fully bed into the squad. For me, four defenders are enough for 2 spaces. If we are to keep the 3-5-2 as an option, why not bring back Romagna?

    • Avatar
      Peter March 5, 2017 at 8:36 am

      I don’t mind having a capable 5th defender, you know, just in case. Anything could happen that could keep your players out for maybe only one game. Injuries, yellow suspensions, your first choice having a tantrum with the coach… If Benatia is okay with this, I don’t mind.

    • Avatar
      Xx RForcE xX March 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      he is too injury prone, no way worth 17m, send him back to BM and reinvest 21m plus 17m for Zaza. Romagna is not ready yet.Finding him some SA club for next season , would be the best possible choice.

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet March 6, 2017 at 6:30 am

        The fact that Romagna is not ready is precisely why I feel he would be great training with the world class CBs in the squad, given some minutes maybe in the coppa…

        • Avatar
          Xx RForcE xX March 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

          if he will keep playing on loan it is definitely better option than training with whoever. in training you will not get under pressure as much as in real match.he played last 3 matches, 270mins, so lets hope he keep developing and marotta &co find him some SA club for next season.

  • Avatar
    ho Hi March 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Wheres Rugani?

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino March 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Well this is 2 points lost, even though we extended the gap with Roma with one more point

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef March 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Bad display today. I wonder playing the first 11 inpacted negativly. Manzukic could have well played cf a half with dybala half with higuan. We could settle with a 433 somtimes. My opinion as always.

  • Avatar
    Sebastián Quiceno March 5, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Seriously Juventini what will the hashtag be for the 6th straight crown? I am about to start using it from now on.

    I have no problem whatsoever with today´s display. Why force the machine? we need to manage our energy and efforts, avoid any injuries. We got a point away from home. the lads did the job today.

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef March 5, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      #6leggenda I think you are a legend

      • Avatar
        Sebastián Quiceno March 6, 2017 at 12:02 am

        Thanks for the update, I had no idea we were already using it, I will get to it asap. By the way we also need one for when we win UCL this year do you know about that one?
        Man I am slacking, I need to step it up in here.

        • Avatar
          Xx RForcE xX March 6, 2017 at 3:50 am

          what is this shit about hashtag?

          • Avatar
            Sebastián Quiceno March 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm

            Encouragement to our team to win. God willing it is just a matter of time. We should start thinking about a 7th, break the godmade history books once and for all. Render them useless or merely collectible items.

  • Avatar
    Jas March 5, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Allergi should’ve mixed the lineup on this one -____-. I think he is literally giving new player an adtitonal 5 minutes every game -_____-. Also, am I the only that thinks caldara is ready for Juventus this year vs next year? Can’t tell me chiellini or Benatia have been as impressive this year. Give their age they will only get worse in the following season.

  • Avatar
    Sebastián Quiceno March 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I actually think we not only can but also should have a hashtag before we win as encouragement to our team of what the objective is, thats why I say we even need one for UCL.

    I remember well last year. We didn´t start to see hashtags and celebratory content after scudetto award ceremony, that´s unrealistic. The Hi5tory started floating around way beforehand, once the math had been fulfilled.

    Both management and Juve insiders have their math straight, heck I am sure even many fans do. They know what the points threshold is and once we go past it fans will have a go to start using it at discretion.

    God willing it is just a matter of time before we do it. We simply have no competition both Arsenal and Barcellona B can´t keep up with us, much less the rest.

    Many may be as politically correct as they can and go by the book, I am just not taht kind of person.

    There´s no sin in showing faith and encouraging the players to achieve a goal by posting a hashtag or anything of the like, it is not only a celebratory thing – well not yet-, but it is a way of faith and hope we can achieve it and encouragement for our team to do it.

    To me hashtags like #Hi5tory and internet content are not to be deployed only after we are awarded a scudetto. Aren´t we entitled to have some buildup?

    Being conservative, cautious, “prudent” not having even a glimpse of celebration before we are awarded the scudetto equal following the book to the letter. Since last year I am a proponent of burning the goddamn book to ashes.

    Last year players didn´t celebrate at the stadium, they celebrated way beforehand I don´t remember exactly but it was with at least 3 matches still to be played.

    It is true we may not have achieved the math points threshold yet but that doesn´t mean we can´t start getting ceative with the celebratory content. I dare say I am sure marketing heads are starting to do so, even if silently for now.

    I think us Juve should not and must not be afraid of success, of victory, of glory, or afraid to celebrate our achievements lest others correct us back in line or signal us as politically incorrect. It is not like others respect our succes, they rather taint it and disdain it as stolen or outrigt bought.

    To the moon with that godmade straight line and political correctness. We are making history here, a thing that has never seen before in Italy, if we can´t get our guns ready to celebrate a 6th straight scudetto then we don´t deserve it and are a tamed herd, we are dead already. I am not a living dead.