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Udinese logo
Serie A | Gameweek 1
Aug 22, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Stadio Friuli
Juventus logo

2 - 2

Pereyra (51' pen.), Deulofeu (83')
Walace (76')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Dybala (3'), Cuadrado (23')
Szczesny (50'), Kulusevski (88'), Ronaldo (90+5')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Juventus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Finally dethroned as the kings of Calcio last season, Juventus will seek a fast start in recovering the Scudetto as they meet Udinese in their Serie A opener on Sunday.

With their nine-year dominance at an end, Juve had only a Coppa Italia triumph and last-minute qualification for the Champions League as consolation, so have made an inevitable change in the dugout to turn things around.

Match preview

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri salutes on February 10, 2019© Reuters

Following a rare year of decline and unease - plus uproar at plans to join a so-called European Super League - the removal of club legend Andrea Pirlo as coach this summer has led to Juventus turning towards their former boss Max Allegri for a change of fortunes in 2021-22.

Between 2014 and 2019, Allegri lifted 11 trophies with the Bianconeri - including five successive Scudetti and four straight Coppa Italia - while reaching two Champions League finals without quite taking the final step. He is also the man with the highest win percentage in their long and illustrious history, at a remarkable 75%.

A four-time winner of the prestigious Panchina d'Oro (Golden Bench), the former Milan manager will now want to prove he is still sharp following a two-year sabbatical, and that his tactical intelligence and calming confidence is exactly the combination Juve need amid challenging times.

August's opening rounds of the new Serie A season will see the Turin giants host promoted Empoli following their trip to Udine, so the 36-times Italian champions will expect to take advantage of such a kind turn from the fixture computer.

Juventus - who have made few new acquisitions but managed to retain last term's Capocannoniere Cristiano Ronaldo for now - have won seven of their last eight league games against Udinese, scoring 24 times in the process. Not only that, but they have won nine of their last 10 season openers in Serie A, and will be confident of adding another to that tally against their fellow Bianconeri.

Udinese manager Luca Gotti pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Even if they are renowned as a selling club - and almost a production line for bigger sides at home and abroad - the departure of Udinese's talisman and captain Rodrigo De Paul this summer still stings.

The Argentinian playmaker's move to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid was well deserved, but leaves a gaping hole in the Friulian club's creative department ahead of the new league season.

Having finished between 12th and 14th at the end of the last five seasons, Udinese are realistic about their role in the food chain, but despite De Paul's exit, coach Luca Gotti still retains ambitions of a top-half placing next spring.

The former Chelsea assistant has had precious little money to play with, though, as the Zebrette rarely spend heavily in the market and prefer to promote from within - benefiting from a particularly productive scouting department.

Even so, Udinese - who have only won one of their last 11 home games against opening day visitors Juventus - warmed up for one of their toughest tasks of the upcoming campaign with a 3-1 Coppa Italia win over Ascoli last weekend, as former Juve midfielder Roberto Pereyra netted twice to send them through to the second round.

However, they will need to wait a week longer for a better shot at their second competitive win of the campaign, when they host promoted Venezia in the second of back-to-back games at the Dacia Arena.

Udinese form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Juventus form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pictured in March 2021© Reuters

Though goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon may have left the scene, all of the other established stars remain at Juventus for Max Allegri's return - including Euro 2020 winners Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini - while Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa return for a second season in Turin having lit up the summer's main event with some excellent displays.

All four could start in Udine, though Chiellini - who recently signed a contract extension - faces increased competition from Matthijs de Ligt for a place in central defence.

Allegri is likely to utilise a 4-3-3 formation - which could feature Chiesa, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, as in last week's friendly win over Atalanta - but will be a little light in midfield, as Adrien Rabiot and Arthur are out injured and Weston McKennie must serve a suspension. Therefore, Aaron Ramsey could make the starting XI alongside Rodrigo Bentancur and Manuel Locatelli may even feature after finally completing his move from Sassuolo.

The home side, on the other hand, are only without long-term absentee Ilija Nestorovski this weekend, as he continues his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.

Luca Gotti generally prefers a three-man defensive line, so should be expected to revert to his tried and tested system after tinkering with a 4-2-3-1 in the cup win last week.

On-loan Destiny Udogie is one of few summer arrivals, and could start on the left against Juve, while another star of the Euros - Denmark's Jens Stryger Larsen - is set to line up on the right. Meanwhile, Stefano Okaka and Cristo Gonzalez are the favoured options to start up front.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Stryger Larsen, Walace, Makengo, Arslan, Udogie; Pereyra; Okaka

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro; Bentancur, Ramsey, Locatelli; Chiesa, Dybala, Ronaldo

SM words green background

We say: Udinese 0-2 Juventus

Juventus dropped too many points against sides bound for a bottom-half finish last term, so will be eager to start on the right foot this weekend at the Friuli.

With Paulo Dybala fully fit and Manuel Locatelli adding a missing ingredient to their midfield department, the visitors are likely to prove too hot for Udinese to handle under their returning supremo, Max Allegri.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Juventus win with a probability of 59.4%. A draw had a probability of 21.4% and a win for Udinese had a probability of 19.17%.

The most likely scoreline for a Juventus win was 1-2 with a probability of 9.95%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 0-1 (9.73%) and 0-2 (9.64%). The likeliest drawn scoreline was 1-1 (10.04%), while for a Udinese win it was 2-1 (5.19%). The actual scoreline of 2-2 was predicted with a 5.1% likelihood.

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Juventus' Federico Chiesa celebrates with the Coppa Italia trophy on May 19, 2021
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