Preview: Udinese vs. Salernitana

Preview: Udinese vs. Salernitana

Seeking to extend their recent upturn in fortunes with a final win of 2021, Udinese welcome rock-bottom Salernitana to the Dacia Arena on Tuesday.

While the home side have enjoyed a ‘new-manager bounce’ to post back-to-back victories in league and cup, their southern visitors are still rooted to the foot of the table amid threats of expulsion from Serie A.

Another impressive performance on Saturday night confirmed the transformation of a previously faltering Udinese side since assistant coach Gabriele Cioffi took the reins from predecessor Luca Gotti, who was also promoted from number two to the top job at the Friuli.

Picking up four points in two games has helped the Zebrette creep away from the danger zone and back into the mid-table pack, with a weekend win coming in spectacular style down in Sardinia.

Previously only a spectacular late Zlatan Ibrahimovic intervention away from beating Milan on the new man’s debut in the dugout, Udinese demolished struggling Cagliari to record just their second away win of the season.

An eye-catching double from the rejuvenated Gerard Deulofeu helped Cioffi’s charges to a 4-0 success, just days after a midweek Coppa Italia victory over Serie B side Crotone by the same scoreline, which proved enough to persuade the Pozzo family that their interim appointment should take charge until the season’s end.

Two wins and eight goals without reply, then, set up the Bianconeri perfectly for a meeting with opponents who are both bereft of confidence and have legitimate concerns about the future of their club.

Amid a backdrop of speculation that they could be demoted to the amateur leagues due to an unresolved ownership issue, Salernitana have staggered from one bad result to another.

The Granata have now lost each of their last five games without finding the net – conceding 13 times in the process – following Saturday’s mauling by reigning champions Inter at Stadio Arechi.

Head coach Stefano Colantuono – already the second man to take up the task of keeping the modest club afloat in Serie A this term – admitted after his side’s 5-0 defeat that they are effectively hopeless against Serie A’s big boys.

They have, though, fared little better against anyone else so far, as just two wins from the first half of the campaign sees them sit 20th in the division and – leaking goals at a rate of more than two per game – in dire trouble approaching the halfway stage.

Not only are things disintegrating on the field for the Campanian side, due to owner Claudio Lotito’s long-established relationship with fellow top-flight club Lazio, he was required to sell Salernitana following their promotion from Serie B last spring. However, a buyer has not materialised since, and the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) could now bar the Salerno side from completing the campaign after the winter break.

Such chaos bodes badly for their hopes of returning south with three points on Tuesday, when they meet Udinese in the Italian top tier for the first time since 1998.

Udinese Serie A form:
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Udinese form (all competitions):
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Salernitana Serie A form:
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Salernitana form (all competitions):
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We say: Udinese 2-0 Salernitana
Even in the spirit of the season, it is difficult to see Salernitana being gifted even a goal on Tuesday, let alone a point, as they slip further adrift of safety.

Udinese will regret the timing of the mid-season break given their recent improvement, but have time for one more home win, which they will seal due to their greater attacking confidence and the visitors’ ongoing defensive woes.

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