Serie A Preview: Inter vs Udinese

Claudio Villa

The Nerazzurri desperately need all three points to keep pace in the race for the last Champions League spot...

It's a bit of a good news, bad news situation ahead of the Udinese match as Inter has lost only one game this season but has picked up a lone victory in its last five games.

The disappointing run of results has caused the armchair managers in Nerazzurri Nation to start grumbling about the state of affairs at Appiano Gentile.

Inter's worrying trend of blowing leads continued against Atalanta as Walter Mazzarri's men were unable to protect a one-goal advantage and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

The 1-1 draw wasn't the end of the world considering the club's dismal record in Bergamo but Roma's blistering start is making any sort of misstep that much more costly.

The schedule after the loss to the league leaders set up for a favourable eight-game run but so far the squad has failed to get the memo. Five very winnable matches are ahead of the Napoli showdown and Inter must put together a few victories before then.

Udinese are up next for the Beneamata, a club that defeated them twice last season by an 8-2 margin.

This is the part of the fixture list that Inter must make up ground, not lose it to its rivals. We are about to see if this squad has what it takes to climb up the league table or if this is the start of another downward descent.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time: 9:00 EST

Venue: Stadio Friuli

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Handanovic; Rolando, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, Kovacic, Cambiasso, Taider, Nagatomo; Alvarez; Palacio

Udinese Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Brkic; Naldo, Danilo, Domizzi; Pereyra, Lazzari, Allan, Badu, Gabriel Silva; Muriel; Di Natale

Unavailable For Duty: Javier Zanetti is inching closer to making his return after an Achilles tear. Hugo Campagnaro and Diego Milito are nursing thigh strains while Cristian Chivu is out with a knee injury. Ishak Belfodil is suspended and will miss out on the festivities.

Operation Moldy Gorgonzola: To string together a few morale-boosting victories to help us reach our primary objective of reattaining a foothold in Europe.

Enemy Of The State: I have nothing against Antonio Di Natale, especially since he's turned down Juve on multiple occasions but it would be nice if he could refrain from scoring against us. He found the back of the net three times versus Inter last season and will do it again without mercy if the blunders from the back line continue.

Fear Factor: 7: Udinese is as scary as that one freak who pops up from out of nowhere after you just emptied your last round during the zombie apocalypse. You can take him once in a while with your bare hands but most of the time you're as good as dead.

Medal Of Honor: Ricky Alvarez was Inter's most dangerous player against Atalanta and figures to do some more damage in Sunday's encounter. The kid is coming on strong and has been a joy to watch. Let's hope his rich vein of form continues.

If Inter Wins: I will crack open a bottle of La Fin Du Monde and savor every drop as victories over Udinese don't happen every day.

If Inter Loses: I might have to start seriously thinking about pulling out the Grappa from the back of the liquor cabinet.

Likely Outcome: We've had major problems with Udinese in the past but I think Inter will do enough to squeak out a one-goal win. I hope so anyways.

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