Juventus v Udinese – Live on ESPN – Saturday 19 January 7:45pm
Serie A league leaders Juventus host Udinese as they look to get back on track after a couple of poor results in the new year.
La Vecchia Signora began 2013 with a home defeat against Sampdoria followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw at Parma last weekend. They’ll be looking to get back to winning ways, but Udinese certainly won’t make it easy.
The Juventus defence hasn’t been as strong as it normally is, and it will not include their captain Giorgio Chiellini who remains absent through injury. It is no coincidence that Juve’s poor results have come without their influential skipper, so he remains a big miss.
With the back-line not looking its best, they will need big performances from the forwards. Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella are likely to begin up front, but they also have Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri waiting in the wings, so there should be goals in the Juventus side. With Andrea Pirlo pulling the strings, you would expect they will get enough chances, so it’s whether they can take them or not.
Their opponents are no pushover. Far from it, they are unbeaten in their last six league games, including an impressive 3-0 victory over Inter Milan on January 6. In Antonio di Natale, they possess one of the best forwards in Italy who will undoubtedly cause the Juve defence no end of problems.
Udinese’s form at home is excellent, but their results on the road are not quite as good. That would be something to consider before placing a bet. But their confidence should be very high and they will go to Turin with no fear and hoping to continue their recent form.
It should be an exciting game with both teams possessing very good attacking options. Juve are coming under pressure from second-placed Lazio so it’s vital they get three points from this home fixture, and I think they will, just.