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Preview: Udinese vs. Genoa - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. Genoa - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Genoa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With just one win between them in their last 20 leagues games combined, two Serie A strugglers meet on Sunday, as Udinese host Genoa at the Dacia Arena.

After Andriy Shevchenko made a losing debut as the Grifone's head coach last weekend, the away side will be seeking an elusive second victory of the campaign, while their hosts have at least picked up just three points this month and sit 15th in the standings.

Match preview

Having seen his new team slump into the relegation zone following a run of 10 matches without a win, Genoa's new coach will already be aware of the significant task ahead of him to revive an ailing outfit.

In all, just one win in their first 12 league games has left the Grifone floundering in the bottom three, and they could well be repeating the pattern of last year, when they drifted into danger only to be saved by the emergency intervention of former boss Davide Ballardini.

The Ligurians' new superstar manager failed to inspire an immediate response against Roma last Sunday, as the capital club stole the points late on through primavera player Felix Afena-Gyan's brilliant brace.

That loss at Marassi - attributed to the onset of fatigue by Shevchenko after the game - was Genoa's third from six winless home games, and leaves them in dire need of an away success in Udine this weekend, as their upcoming schedule looks to be fraught with danger.

Once they return from Serie A's most northerly outpost on Sunday evening, the injury-hit Grifone take on Milan and Juventus to start December, before the first Derby della Lanterna of the season against their Genoese rivals Sampdoria.

However, having failed to beat Udinese in Serie A since February 2016 - meanwhile suffering six losses and four draws, including a 1-0 away defeat almost exactly a year ago - the weight of precedent is also set against them.

While their visitors are deep in the mire, Udinese continue to spiral down towards the foot of the table themselves, due to a terrible streak that has seen the Zebrette win just one of their last 10 league games.

After a four-game sequence of draws, Luca Gotti's men have lost two of their last three, with victory over Sassuolo being sandwiched by defeats to Inter and Torino - the latter beating them 2-1 on Monday in a close-fought encounter.

Even a brilliant late Fernando Forestieri free-kick could not haul Udinese back into the match in Turin, as they were denied on several occasions by home goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.

A bottom-half team in Italy's top flight throughout the last eight seasons, the Friulani now look set for another season of toil among the also-rans this term, but Gotti will be aware that the Pozzo family are demanding employers and will not tolerate a descent towards Serie B.

The former Chelsea assistant is suffering a familiar tale this season, as once again his forwards have failed to deliver a consistent supply of goals. Only last-placed Salernitana have scored fewer than Udinese's tally of 10 since their only away win - at Spezia back in September.

As a result of their lack of firepower, the Bianconeri have won just two of their last 13 Serie A home games, so will take nothing for granted against one of the few sides lower than them in the standings this weekend.

Udinese Serie A form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Genoa Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L

Team News

Udinese prepare for Sunday's lunchtime kickoff in the rare position of expecting no absentees through injury, illness or suspension, so could confirm a similar side to that which was narrowly edged out by Torino on Monday.

That would see Ignacio Pussetto and Gerard Deulofeu start in support of rookie striker Beto for the home side, with Isaac Success and Fernando Forestieri offering attacking options from the bench. Only Capocannoniere co-leader Ciro Immobile has made more carries ending in a shot this term than 23-year-old Beto, who has netted four times so far in his debut Serie A season.

There has been some suggestion that Luca Gotti is tempted to try a rarely used four-man defence this weekend, which could see Atletico Madrid loanee Nehuen Perez come in at right-back.

Genoa, meanwhile, have not had the luxury of selecting defensive setups through choice of late, as a number of first-team regulars have been sidelined due to injury. Mattia Bani, Nikola Maksimovic and penalty-taking captain Domenico Criscito are all set to remain missing from the visitors' back three in Udine, while hamstring injuries mean both Felipe Caicedo and Mattia Destro are doubts to feature up front.

Mohamed Fares also has a calf problem, and fellow wing-back option Stefano Sabelli is struggling with a knee injury, so either Davide Biraschi or Paolo Ghiglione may have to deputise out wide for Andriy Shevchenko's side.

In the probable absence of Caicedo and Destro, veteran forward Goran Pandev and Caleb Ekuban could start up front.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Molina, Walace, Pereyra, Udogie; Deulofeu, Pussetto; Beto

Genoa possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Masiello, Vasquez, Biraschi; Ghiglione, Sturaro, Rovella, Cambiaso; Galdames; Ekuban, Pandev

We say: Udinese 1-1 Genoa

Having drawn the majority of their last seven league games, Udinese are set for another stalemate on Sunday, as their inability to score the goals required to kill off matches will haunt them again.

After working with his squad for a couple of weeks, Andriy Shevchenko should now be getting his ideas across, and can help his side steal a scrappy point at the Dacia Arena.

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