A revived Roma side travel to Udinese in Serie A action on Saturday afternoon.
After a rocky spell, Eusebio Di Francesco’s men find themselves back in fourth place after bitter foes Lazio’s heavy defeat at the hands of Napoli, and the pair are likely to keep swapping positions between now and May.
Where and when: Dacia Arena – 17 February, kick-off 14:00
Where you can see Udinese vs. Roma: William Hill live streaming
Last time: Edin Dzeko opened the scoring before a first-half brace from Stephan El Shaarawy effectively ended the contest. Maxi Lopez briefly made things interesting but it was a comfortable 3-1 win for the Lupi.
Udinese v Roma Predictions and Preview
Back-to-back wins versus Verona and Benevento has lifted morale in Di Francesco’s camp and it’s important this good run continues against midtable Udinese, particularly with mouth-watering showdowns against Milan and the leaders coming up.
Central to the recent successes has been starlet Cengiz Under. The Turkish international was considered a coup when Roma announced his signing but struggled in the opening stages of the season, until recent weeks. The winger has now come in to his own, bagging three goals and an assist in under 180 minutes of action and this will please his boss.
It’s no secret the Giallorossi are heavily reliant on Dzeko to deliver on a weekly basis and the figures speak for themselves. Neighbours Lazio have hit the back of the net over 20 times more than Roma and have a handful of players who contribute regularly. The race for Europe will realistically go to the wire and Di Francesco needs more from his attacking outlets to stay in the mix.
Gregoire Defrel, for example, is still without a goal in open play and the move simply hasn’t worked out. The former Sassuolo attacker will hope for a contrast in fortunes much like his teammate and Under is 7/1 to strike last in the contest. Roma are 4/5 to take the three points on the day.
Meanwhile, opponents Udinese have fared steadily in recent weeks but have struggled to reach the heights of December, winning five matches in a row. Massimo Oddo has proven to be a shrewd appointment and the Zebrette have every chance of cementing a top half finish this year. Udinese are 10/3 to record their 11th win which would only be one shy of last season’s tally with thirteen games still to play.
One to watch for Udinese: Jakub Jankto has caught the eye of a host of Premier League clubs with his performances this term, and is 9/1 to bag any time during the 90.
One to watch for Roma: By his normally high standards, Dzeko has been under par over the last six months but is showing signs of recapturing his best form. The Bosnian forward is 3/1 to open proceedings.
Long shot: The hosts are certainly capable of springing an upset, having ended Inter’s unbeaten run and taken points off Milan and Atalanta also. Oddo’s side enjoy their best football on home soil and a remarkable 4-1 triumph is available at 125/1, ending a sequence of nine consecutive league defeats at the hands of the capital outfit.