Udinese v Genoa – Friuli at 14:00
The relegation scrap in Serie A has long looked like being a closed window and Genoa are fortunate there are three more wretched sides in the league than them this season.
The Grifone opted to cash-in on key players during the winter transfer window, selling defensive midfielder Thomas Rincon, top goalscorer Leonardo Pavoletti and left-back Christian Ansaldi effectively ending their campaign early.
Unsurprisingly, results have nosedived dramatically and last weekend’s 5-0 hammering at home to Atalanta was the latest in a rotten run. Fellow strugglers Pescara battered the Grifone by the same scoreline not so long ago and supporters have had enough.
During last weekend’s embarrassing loss, fans protested against owner Enrico Preziosi throughout, displaying a picture of his face crossed out and a sign insisting that “Genoa belongs to the Genoans”.
After Atalanta’s third goal, those in the Gradinata Nord literally turned their backs on the pitch, while continuing to chant songs calling for his departure. It’s a sorry state of affairs.
Genoa are still 12 points above the drop zone but they’ve won just once in 15 outings across all competitions, have lost three games on the spin and six matches in eight. Sunday’s visitors have also suffered double derby defeat against bitter rivals Sampdoria for the first time since 1959/60.
Genoa missing key men
Coming into this weekend’s encounter at Udinese, Andrea Mandorlini is missing more key components with star goalkeeper Mattia Perin out, midfield marauder Miguel Veloso a major doubt and striker Mauricio Pinilla starting the first of a five-match suspension.
Genoa have fired blanks in six of their past eight outings now and have been beaten by two or more goals in six of their last 11 away days. Even though Udinese are suffering their own injury absences, the home victory looks just too good to turn down.
We can back the Zebrette at 1.84 with a -0.50 Asian Handicap start, a selection that makes plenty of appeal considering Luigi Delneri’s team’s performances in recent weeks.
Udinese too big to ignore
Udinese are unbeaten in four (W2-D2-L0) and earned highly creditable draws at home to Juventus and away to Torino in that sample. The hosts haven’t beaten Genoa in six attempts but have claimed seven wins from eight when welcoming bottom-six sides and this appears a fantastic opportunity to enhance that record.
Midfielder Jakub Jankto is suspended and fellow midfielder Seko Fofana is injured but form striker Cyril Thereau and Orestis Karnezis are both expected to play following their returns from injury to bolster the ranks in what should prove a comfortable home triumph for Udinese.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Udinese -0.50 Asian Handicap at 1.84
Prices correct at time of writing.