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Juve intent on avoiding any unpleasant surprises

Juve want to keep the top of the table by beating tricky Udinese.

Udinese aren't having the best of seasons so far; at least, not compared to the last few years when they were around the top of Italian football. But the zebrette did surprise Fiorentina at home last round with a great second half performance, which is why Juventus have to be fully concentrated if they are to avoid any surprises. In fact, Antonio Conte referred to Udinese as the potential "banana peel" that Juventus could slip on if they are not careful.

Conte will finally have Stephan Lichtsteiner back among the available players, but he likely won't start. It seems that it will be Simone Padoin at right wing back in Juve's 3-5-2, while his colleague on the left side, replacing the suspended Kwadwo Asamoah, will be Paolo De Ceglie. Those two players could be the bianconeri's weak spots and if Udinese is to get anything from the game, it will probably have to come from either of the flanks. 

Andrea Barzagli is also back in the team and will take his spot in three men defense next to Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. In the midfield, Conte might decide to rest either Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba and give Claudio Marchisio a start, while attack should be the same, with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente who seem to complement each other quite well and are playing better in every game.

Udinese's coach, Francesco Guidolin, cannot count on the injured Luis Muriel, and will likely give a 4-2-3-1 formation another go, after last week's successful showing against Fiorentina. Living legend Antonio Di Natale will spearhead the zebrette attack with Dusan Basta and Roberto Pereyra on the flanks behind him and young Portuguese Bruno Fernandes as the trequartista. Because of Juve's super-strong midfield, Fernandes might spend more time helping his colleagues in central midfield, Allan and Andrea Lazzari, which could mean that the formation could look more like a 4-3-2-1. In defense, Gabriel Silva, who impressed against Fiorentina, will take his spot on the left side, with Thomas Heurtaux on the right and Danilo and Maurizio Domizzi in the center.

Juve hold the keys to this game. They are the (far) stronger team and if they play like they know, another win shouldn't be a question. However, Udinese showed signs of improvement last week when they played against another team that, like the Old Lady, likes to keep possession, and punished them on counter attacks. Pereyra and Basta will try to create as many problems to Padoin and De Ceglie, who, while decent players, certainly aren't Juve's first choices for a reason.

 

 

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