Udinese VS Napoli - Italian Serie A Match Preview

Match Time:1/10/2021 22:00 Sunday  (GMT+8)

Italian Serie A --  Udinese   VS   Napoli

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Following a catastrophic collapse in midweek, Napoli travel north to meet Udinese on Sunday, seeking to recover from a run of three defeats in five. Their Friulian hosts have slipped down the Serie A standings of late - also with no wins in five - and are now just four points above the drop zone.

 

Match preview

Italian media sources reported enraged screams and punches to the walls of Stadio Diego Maradona after Napoli's inexplicable home loss to lowly Spezia on Wednesday, as their furious coach Gennaro Gattuso apparently unleashed his characteristically fiery temper upon his squad.Allowing Vincenzo Italiano's outsiders to come back from a goal down late on - particularly after the visitors had been reduced to ten men - also led to the former Milan manager questioning the of character of his team.The Partenopei were made to rue their many missed chances in the continued absence of forwards Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen - with 29 attempts on goal and nearly two-thirds of possession failing to result in even a point.Their five league defeats so far is Napoli's worst record at this stage since 2007-08, though they remain in contention for a coveted top-four spot - ahead of Atalanta and Lazio and just behind Juventus and Sassuolo.Gattuso's failed experiment, with Hirving Lozano initially operating as a 'false nine' versus Spezia, is unlikely to continue on Sunday.More probably, Andrea Petagna - who had failed to take advantage of three consecutive starts but ended a four-match drought to score as a substitute last time out - will be tasked with taking the fight to Udinese's back three. Only failing Parma and Cagliari have won fewer points than both Napoli and Luca Gotti's 13th-placed Udinese in the last five rounds, with four and three points respectively since mid-December.A late equaliser from midfielder Tolgay Arslan rescued Udinese's most recent point in midweek, as the Zebrette fought back from behind to draw 2-2 with ten-man Bologna.Having failed to score in four of their first seven Serie A home games this season - netting only five goals in total - only Parma have scored fewer than Udinese on home turf so far.Gotti lost perhaps his most lively attacker Ignacio Pussetto for the rest of the campaign due to an ACL tear last week and his fellow forwards have yet to get going.Two other ex-Watford men Stefano Okaka and Gerard Deulofeu have been out with injuries, while Kevin Lasagna, Fernando Forestieri and Ilija Nestorovski have proved unable to hit the net on even a semi-regular basis.Certainly, Udinese face an uphill task this weekend - even against an out-of-form Napoli outfit - as they have lost eight of their last nine encounters with the Neapolitan club in all competitions.As the previously secure Bianconeri have now conceded at least two goals in each of their last three league matches, their efforts to secure even a point at Stadio Friuli must be built from the back.

 

Udinese Serie A form: WLLDWL

 

Napoli Serie A form: WDDLLD

 

Team News

Gennaro Gattuso has several first-choice picks unavailable, with Kalidou Koulibaly (thigh), Dries Mertens (ankle) and Victor Osimhen (COVID-19) still missing, while German midfielder Diego Demme and full-back Kevin Malcuit also remain out.Piotr Zielinski is set to start behind lone striker Andrea Petagna, who returns to the first XI, while Hirving Lozano moves from a 'false nine' role to the right, with Lorenzo Insigne on the left.Udinese are likely to be missing Gerard Deulofeu, Stefano Okaka, Dutch defender Bram Nuytinck and Mato Jajalo, while coach Luca Gotti also lost forward Ignacio Pussetto for the rest of the campaign due to an ACL tear last week.Nahuel Molina will compete with Jens Stryger Larsen to start on the right of a familiar 3-5-2 and midweek goalscorer Tolgay Arslan could come into the side ahead of Walace and Rolando Mandragora.With Fernando Forestieri not yet at full fitness, Kevin Lasagna and Ilija Nestorovski should start up front.

 

Udinese possible starting lineup: Musso; Becao, Bonifazi, Samir; Stryger Larsen, De Paul, Arslan, Pereyra, Zeegelaar; Lasagna, Nestorovski

Napoli possible starting lineup: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Rrahmani, Hysaj; Ruiz, Bakayoko; Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Petagna

 

Udinese VS Napoli

Udinese 1-2 Napoli

Udinese VS Napoli - Italian Serie A Match Preview

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