Stadio Friuli, Udine, Italy
23rd January, 2011, 17:00 IST
Udinese arguably have been the most enthralling and exciting side in the Serie A after the winter break. Having scored atleast 2 goals in the their last 5 encounters against various sides in the competition, Udinese are defintely an attacking threat. A fortnight ago, the Bianconeri were involved in what could be called as the match of the season against Milan at the San Siro which produced a stunning 4-4 draw. A repeat of such a performance would be a feast for the football fans across the globe. Udinese sit comfortably in the 8th place in the Serie A table having collected 30 points and 2 places shy off the elite European place. One player from Udinese has been in constant speculation with Udinese’s opponents for Sunday who are also interested in Alexis Sanchez.
Inter couldn’t have asked and hoped for a better start to their campaign after the winter break. Credits must go to one man, Leonardo. The brazilian has been the centre of attention for the Nerazzurri as he has been able to rebuild a jaded side after the departure of a certain Spaniard Rafa Benitez.
The Nerazzurri have managed to get back into the final Champions League spot with a game in hand and are just 6 points behind leaders Milan. They have collected 35 points this season in the Italian league which includes 10 wins, 5 draws and 4 defeats. Inter will know this game will be no walk in the park. So, they would be looking to get a narrow win and move ahead in the table. Meanwhile, Sniejder believes that his team can retain their league title. On the other hand, there have been rumors of Mourinho’s return to Inter but these have been dismissed by Luciano Moggi.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Udinese don’t have many injury concerns to their key players which is the reason why they have been in a brilliant form off late. Their attacking intent should see them field a 3-4-1-2 system with Sanchez and Pasquale in the wings and Inler playing in the hole. This leaves Di Natale, who is the top scorer in the Serie A, this season, and strike partner Barbe to assume forward roles. Asamoah and Pinzi will be supporting their three defenders Zapata, Coda and Benatia.
The home side will be attacking once again but they will know that Inter will be looking to hit them on the break. So, they need to go on with their positive approach but at the same time should be practical and respect Inter who have been dangerous themselves this year.
Possible Starting Line-up: Handanovic, Benatia, Zapata, Coda, Sanchez, Pinzi, Asamoah, Inler, Pasquale, Barbe, Di Natale
Sneijder, Coutinho, Samuel and Julio Cesar are still injured and will not make the trip to Catania. Eto’o is back from suspension and should start alongside Milito in attack in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Leonardo has stuck to Inter’s treble winning formation in his first match and is expected to continue with the same formation. Due to the unavailability of Sneijder, Stankovic will be occupying that slot. The trio of Stankovic, Milito and Eto’o will be expected to assume the attacking role while also helps their defenders as Udinese is a dangerous attacking side.
Inter will know that they might have to sit deep in this match and defend well for 90 minutes. This will limit their chances only to counter attacks which could result in a very few chances. Milito and Eto’o are the kind of strikers who can get a goal out of nowhere and this is exactly what Leonardo will be hoping for.
Possible Starting Lineup: Castelazzi, Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Chivu, Zannetti, Motta, Bibiany, Stankovic, Milito, Eto’o.
Inter Milan: W-W-W-W-W
1. Inter have won their last 5 encounters against Udinese.
2. Udinese have failed to beat Inter in their last 10 matches.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Alexis Sanchez (Udinese)
The Chilean is one of the brightest talents across the globe at the moment. His dribbling skills has made him a favourite with the Udinese fans. He knows that with his talent, he can go to a much bigger club with Sunday’s opponents a possible destination. But that should not distract him as he has been in a blistering form off late and has been assisting as well as scoring.
Udinese coach will know that Inter will be weak in the flanks, which could lead to Alexis having great opportunities to exploit Inter’s defense and provide the assists for Di Natale.
Udinese 2-2 Inter Milan
Inter have been in a brilliant form off late but it will be very difficult for them to come away unscathed. So, they will know that they have to score in order to get a good result since it will be tough to stop Udinese from scoring. A high scoring draw would be the most possible result.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST