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Udinese logo
Serie A | Gameweek 33
May 4, 2023 at 7.45pm UK
Dacia Arena
Napoli logo

Udinese
1 - 1
Napoli

Lovric (13')
Ehizibue (17')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Osimhen (52')

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

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

Having seen their Scudetto party spoiled last weekend, Napoli now aim to secure the Serie A title away to Udinese on Thursday night.

On Sunday, Italy's champions-elect were denied victory by a late Salernitana goal that silenced a packed Stadio Maradona, but even though Lazio won on Wednesday, they need just one more point to guarantee finishing in first place.


Match preview

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti reacts on April 18, 2023© Reuters

Despite stumbling at the final hurdle, when their regional rivals from Salerno stunned Naples by virtue of Boulaye Dia's equaliser, it is surely just a matter of time before Napoli confirm their first Scudetto since 1990.

A third national title awaits, such is their commanding lead at the top of the table, which stands at some 18 points after a deflating 1-1 draw against Salernitana followed Lazio's loss at Inter.

In addition to tumbling out of Europe at the hands of Milan, Luciano Spalletti's side had shown signs of either nerves or fatigue in recent Serie A fixtures - perhaps both - but a last-gasp defeat of Juventus took them within touching distance of the prize which has remained elusive for three decades.

Though star forwards Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia have both seen their form dip, Napoli could still get over the line this week and be crowned champions: only two other teams this century have done so with five games left to play - Juventus four years ago and Inter in 2006-07.

Often derided for his shortage of trophies on Italian soil - though he twice led Zenit St Petersburg to the Russian title - 64-year-old Spalletti is set to become the oldest coach ever to win Serie A, and he will expect his team to get the job done on Thursday.

Before arriving at the Dacia Arena, Napoli have won each of their last eight away matches in the top flight - keeping a clean sheet in seven - and they have also won 12 of their last 13 league meetings with Udinese.

Roberto Pereyra in action for Udinese on October 9, 2022© Reuters

Further demonstrating the disparity between the two clubs, Udinese have conceded at least twice in each of their last six encounters, and their last home win over Napoli came back in April 2016 - since then, they have lost five and drawn one.

More recently, the Friulani - who were beaten 3-2 in November's reverse fixture - lost their top-half place by suffering another away defeat, as they returned from Lecce empty-handed in their final fixture of April.

Fresh from a 3-0 win over Cremonese, Andrea Sottil's side were undone shortly after the hour mark, when Tottenham Hotspur-bound Destiny Udogie conceded a penalty and Marco Silvestri was then sent the wrong way from the spot.

As a result, their last five losses have all come on the road; by contrast, they have not lost at home in Serie A since January. In fact, the Bianconeri have already beaten both Milan clubs and Roma at the Dacia Arena this season, so hosting supreme leaders Napoli may not cause much concern.

Having recovered from an awful run of one win in 17 league matches to stabilise themselves in the standings, Udinese could feasibly finish as high as eighth if results go their way between now and June, so they will not roll out the red carpet on Thursday.

Udinese Serie A form:

Napoli Serie A form:


Napoli form (all competitions):



Team News

Mario Rui in action for Napoli on October 9, 2022© Reuters

Mario Rui is still ruled out by an injury sustained in Napoli's Champions League exit to Milan, so Mathias Olivera - who seemed to have scored the Partenopei's Scudetto-securing goal on Sunday - continues to deputise at left-back.

Indeed, the same XI that were held by Salernitana could take the field once again, with Hirving Lozano starting in Matteo Politano's likely absence, alongside the visitors' most feared forwards - though neither are enjoying their best form.

Despite making waves during his debut season in Serie A, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has played more minutes than any other outfield Napoli player since the start of April without scoring or providing an assist.

Victor Osimhen, meanwhile, has failed to score in his last three league appearances - the in-demand striker has yet to go four in a row without finding the net this term - but he does boast a record of four goals in as many games against Udinese.

The hosts were missing regular front pair Isaac Success (thigh) and Beto (back) due to injury as they came away from Via del Mare without scoring a goal, but the latter could return in midweek.

Ilija Nestorovski would make way for Udinese's 10-goal top scorer if the Portuguese striker is fit enough to start, and captain Roberto Pereyra will play a supporting role in the hosts' 3-5-1-1 formation.

Gerard Deulofeu and Enzo Ebosse are out for the rest of the season, but Andrea Sottil otherwise has a full squad to choose from.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Becao, Bijol, Perez; Ehizibue, Samardzic, Walace, Lovric, Udogie; Pereyra; Beto

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia


SM words green background

We say: Udinese 0-1 Napoli

Having stormed through most of the season at an incredible pace, Napoli have been off the boil in recent weeks and now lack the same intensity. That does not diminish their feat of claiming a first Scudetto since the days of Diego Maradona, and they can celebrate doing so with a ninth straight away win.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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Game History

How you voted: Udinese vs Napoli

Udinese
9.5%
Draw
12.2%
Napoli
78.2%
147
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Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their third goal with Piotr Zielinski and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia on March 19, 2023
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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CInter Milan38297289226794
2AC Milan38229776492775
3Juventus381914554312371
4Atalanta BCAtalanta372161070393169
5Bologna381814654322268
6Roma381891165461963
7Lazio381871349391061
8Fiorentina371691258441457
9Torino381314113636053
10Napoli381314115548753
11Genoa381213134545049
12Monza381112153951-1245
13Hellas VeronaHellas Verona38911183851-1338
14Lecce38814163254-2238
15Udinese38619133753-1637
16CagliariCagliari38812184268-2636
17Empoli3899202954-2536
RFrosinoneFrosinone38811194469-2535
RSassuoloSassuolo3879224375-3230
RSalernitana38211253281-4917


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