Udinese will be up vs Napoli in Serie A on Thursday evening, looking to close in on the top half with a win at home.

Napoli only need a draw vs Udinese to secure the Serie A title for the first time in more than three decades. And despite a few sub-par performances in recent weeks, they will fancy grinding out a positive result.

The visitors could have won the league title of the weekend with a win over Salernitana. But the Granata scored a late goal to share the points. Napoli will look to get the job done here. They are the better team, despite failing to hit top form in the last few outings.

Napoli have picked up just one win from the last five matches across all competitions, and the fans will be expecting a strong performance here. On the other hand, Udinese have picked up just one win from the last five league matches. So they will need to improve in order to grind out all three points against the champions-elect.

Team News & Tactics

Udinese

The home side will be without the services of Enzo Ebosse (ACL), Gerard Deulofeu (knee), Simone Pafundi (shoulder), and Isaac Success (muscle injury). Beto remains a doubt for Udinese vs Napoli with a knock.

Udinese are set to start in a 3-5-1-1 formation, with Marco Silvestri in goal. In the back three, Rodrigo Becao will start alongside Jaka Bijol and Nehuen Perez. They will look to keep the side compact defensively and help Udinese build from the back.

Walace will be the defensive midfielder here, and he will look to break up the opposition’s attacks. Kingsley Ehizibue and Destiny Udogie should start as the wing-backs here. They will help in transitions and protect the team defensively.

Sandi Lovric and Lazar Samardzic will be the central midfielders here. The duo will look to keep the play ticking and dominate proceedings in the middle of the park. Roberto Pereyra will add creativity and goals to the side as the central attacking midfielder. Finally, Ilija Nestorovski will lead the line in the absence of Beto.

Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Silvestri; Becao, Bijol, Perez; Walace; Ehizibue, Lovric, Samardzic, Udogie; Pereyra; Nestorovski 

Napoli

Mario Rui is the only injury worry for Napoli right now, and Luciano Spalletti will be able to field his strongest starting lineup. Alex Meret will start in goal for Napoli, who are likely to shape up in their usual 4-3-3.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mathias Olivera will be the full-backs here, and they will look to contribute offensively along with their defensive responsibilities. Amir Rrahmani will partner with Kim Min-jae at the heart of the defence for Napoli.

Stanislav Lobotka will look to anchor the midfield three and win the ball back for his side. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will look to add physicality and drive to the midfield. Piotr Zielinski is also set to start in the midfield three, and he will look to add technicality, composure, control and craft.

Finally, Victor Osimhen will lead the line for the visitors with Hirving Lozano on his right and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia on his left.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Key Stats

  • Napoli¬†are¬†undefeated¬†in¬†33 of their last 36 matches in Serie A.
  • Napoli¬†have¬†won their last six matches against Udinese in all competitions.
  • 24 goals have been scored in the last six matches between these two sides.
  • Udinese have conceded ten goals in their last six matches in Serie A.
  • Victor Osimhen has failed to score in his last three Serie A appearances. But he has never gone four games in a row without scoring in this campaign. He netted four goals in four top-flight games played against Udinese, only netting more against Sampdoria (5)

Player to Watch

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Embed from Getty Images

The 22-year-old has been in breathtaking form this season and Napoli need him to step up and help break down the Udinese back five here. Kvaratskhelia could open up spaces with his pace, flair and trickery.

The Georgian has 12 goals and ten assists in the league this season, and he is likely to make a defining impact for his side once again this week. And another impressive performance will capture the attention of prospective suitors, with Chelsea recently joining the race to sign him.

Prediction

Udinese 1-2 Napoli

Napoli are undoubtedly the better team here and should be able to grind out a victory here. The league title is theirs for the taking, and the visitors will look to wrap up the trophy tomorrow.

Udinese have not been at their best recently and will struggle to contain an in-form Napoli attack. They are likely to put up a fight but the visitors have the quality to come out on top in the end. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow 2-1 win for Napoli here.

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