Juventus are looking to make it eight Serie A wins on the bounce when they travel to the Stadio Friuli to face Udinese on Saturday, in a battle of the Bianconeris.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have been utterly flawless this season, whether that be domestically or in the Champions League. They sit top of the league, already six points clear of nearest challengers Napoli.
Meanwhile, Udinese have made a slow start to the season. The Zebrette are languishing in a disappointing 14th place, three points above the relegation zone.
It’s undoubtedly a tough game for them, but should they get a result against Italy’s most dominant team, then it could turn their season around.
Udinese 2-6 Juventus- October 2017- Serie A
Last season’s fixture between the two clubs at Dacia Arena was an absolute stonker. Coming into the match Juve were not in their usual place of dominance, but in a lowly third, while Udinese were really struggling, level on points with 18th placed Hellas Verona.
Despite their position in the table, Udinese scored first, Stipe Perica putting them ahead. However, the lead didn’t last long, as Juventus equalised shortly after thanks to a Samir own goal.
Sami Khedira scored in the 20th minute, but the scales tipped back once again when striker Mario Mandzukic was sent off.
In the second period, it really went barmy. The home side got their equaliser two minutes into the half, but it merely sparked I Bianconeri into a goal-spree. Rugani scored to make it 3-2 before Khedira popped up with two more to net the first hat-trick of his career.
Finally, in the 90th minute, Miralem Pjanic found the net once more, to wrap up a 6-2 win for the Old Lady. Mental.
Paulo Dybala vs Valon Behrami
Paulo Dybala put in a mesmerising performance in the mid-week, scoring a hat-trick against Young Boys in the Champions League to take his side to the top of Group H. The away fans will be hopeful of another masterclass this weekend.
The Argentine international is a double threat. Not only is he fantastic at ghosting into space in the box and putting in a cool finish, but he also has a creative spark which can get the best out of strikers Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Former Watford and West Ham defensive midfielder Valon Behrami will have to do everything in his power to keep tabs on the number 10, and to press and tackle him whenever he gets the chance. Otherwise, the 24-year-old could boss the gap between defence and midfield with devastating effect.
There are a few injuries and suspensions for Allegri to contend with. Leonardo Spinazzola is currently undergoing Cruciate Ligament Surgery so will be out for the next few weeks at the least.
Centre-back Daniele Rugani is recovering from a bruised rib so is not expected to be back until next week, whilst former World Cup winner Sami Khedira is out due to a muscle issue.
Meanwhile, Douglas Costa remains suspended following the spitting incident against Sassuolo.
As for Udinese, they will be without Svante Ingelsson, Emmanuel Badu and Andrija Balic, who are all sidelined with injury.
Udinese (4-5-1): Scuffet; Stryger Larsen, Troost-Ekong, Nuytinck, Santos; Behrami; Pussetto, Forfana, Mandragora, De Paul; Lasanga.
Juventus (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala; Mandzukic, Ronaldo.
Juventus are by far the most dominant side in Serie A, outmuscling, outplaying and out-thinking almost every opponent they come across. Udinese will obviously hope to put in a spirited display in front of their fans, however, this said, the Turin side are big favourites to defeat the Zebrette.
Football can be an unpredictable game, but given one of these sides is unbeaten in seven league matches, and the other is on a two game losing streak, there’s surely only going to be one winner.
Predicted Scoreline: Udinese 0-3 Juventus