Luca Gotti's hosts have picked up just one point in the last three rounds of action and are already facing a season-long fight for salvation, while the visiting Ligurians sit just above them in the relegation zone.
Taking the initiative has been a major problem for both teams, as Genoa and Udinese are the two clubs that have been ahead in the fewest matches in Serie A this season - both only once.
The Bianconeri have registered a paltry six goals to their visitors' seven and last time out drew a blank in drawing at high-flying Sassuolo. A point, however, was an acceptable return in the end, as the confident Neroverdi had the chance to go top in Serie A and dominated possession, with 61% of the ball.
That more conservative approach may not entirely fit with Gotti's avowed principles but it was certainly effective, as the back three held firm against one of the league's most dynamic attacking forces. At home to fellow strugglers though, the Zebrette will necessarily seek to take the initiative, making full use of Argentinian trio Ignacio Pussetto, Roberto Pereyra and Rodrigo De Paul's guile and drive.
Much encouragement can be gleaned from their recent record against Genoa, as Udinese are unbeaten in the last eight league matches against the Grifone, winning five, which represents their longest streak without defeat against them in Serie A. Moreover, the Rossoblu have only won one of their last nine away matches against Udinese (losing five) - which was a 4-2 victory back in November 2014, under the guidance of Gian Piero Gasperini.
In addition to such a lamentable record in Friuli, Genoa have not enjoyed any success in their most recent seven games after international breaks, only managing four draws and three defeats.
The Grifone's virus-cursed squad, which suffered a disruptive major breakout in the season's early stages, has failed to muster any momentum at all and went into the international hiatus on a run of two draws and four defeats - the last two of which both came on home turf at the Marassi.
Genoa's top scorer is unheralded Azzurrini striker Gianluca Scamacca (on loan from Sassuolo) with just two goals and one assist to his name so far. That tally is indicative of how they have toiled throughout a miserable start to the 2020-21 campaign.
After starting November with a hard-earned draw in the Derby della Lanterna, Genoa slumped to consecutive defeats at the hands of Torino and Roma before the break. Now Sunday's game comes ahead of another meeting with city rivals Sampdoria - a Coppa Italia clash in midweek - and coach Rolando Maran will be doubly keen to gain a much-needed boost before that all-important fixture.
Before the game against Roma, defender Cristian Zapata was the latest Genoa player to test positive for COVID-19 and Maran's charges were subsequently overwhelmed by the creative abilities of in-form Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who grabbed a hat-trick for the victorious visitors. Another defeat left the coach's position looking increasingly tenuous and he will be banking on an upturn from his misfiring forwards to save his skin.
Perhaps the late-career international glory recently enjoyed by veteran Goran Pandev, after he steered his North Macedonia teammates to unprecedented European Championships qualification, will help the ex-Inter man provide the spark which has so far been missing throughout a damp squib of a season.
Udinese Serie A form: LLWLLD
Udinese form (all competitions): LWLWLD
Genoa Serie A form: LDLDLL
Genoa form (all competitions): DLWDLL
In the Udinese engine-room, Mato Jajalo and Rolando Mandragora are still to recover fully from their respective cruciate ligament injuries, although Juventus loanee Mandragora is now nearing a return.
Importantly for under-pressure coach Luca Gotti, Roberto Pereyra is tipped to start after missing out on international duty with Argentina, so the Bianconeri will most likely stick to a 3-5-2 with Rodrigo De Paul, Tolgay Arslan and Pereyra in midfield.
Genoa's misfortune-stricken coach Rolando Maran will again be without some important elements of his first-choice team for the trip to Udine but the injury and illness picture is significantly improving.
Skipper Domenico Criscito is likely to miss out due to injury, while midfielders Marko Pjaca and Stefano Sturaro will be assessed before the team sheet is submitted. However, both Cristian Zapata and Davide Zappacosta return from self-isolation and forward Eldor Shomurodov returns from a thigh strain.
The visitors are expected to set up in a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Miha Zajc and Goran Pandev operating behind lone striker Gianluca Scamacca.
Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Larsen, De Paul, Arslan, Pereyra, Ouwejan; Pussetto, Okaka
Genoa possible starting lineup:
Perin; Biraschi, Goldaniga, Bani, Pellegrini; Rovella, Badelj, Lerager; Zajc, Pandev; Scamacca
We say: Udinese 2-1 Genoa
There is little to split these two toiling teams on their Serie A form to date. However, home advantage and a formidable recent record against the visitors should give Udinese the slight advantage in this bottom-of-the-table clash.
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