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May 16, 2021 at 2pm UK

Okaka (67'), Walace (69'), Bonifazi (86')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Quagliarella (88' pen.)
Thorsby (52')

Preview: Udinese vs. Sampdoria - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. Sampdoria - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Sampdoria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Still to secure their spot in Serie A's top ten, Sampdoria travel to fellow mid-table outfit Udinese on Sunday, at the Dacia Arena.

With both clubs sitting safely in the middle of the standings ahead of the penultimate game of the season, only a top-half finish is at stake for two sides separated by six points.

Match preview

After finding themselves swept away amid an Inter title party last weekend, Sampdoria bounced back to recover twice from going behind in the Ligurian derby with Spezia in midweek; securing a 2-2 draw which keeps them ninth in the table.

A 5-1 mauling at the hands of the new champions was swiftly forgotten, as Samp showed great resilience to answer Tommaso Pobega's double strike with goals from forwards Valerio Verre and Keita Balde, in a game where they dominated possession.

Now looking to secure the club's fourth top-half finish in the last five seasons, Claudio Ranieri's side have a six-point cushion over both Bologna and Sunday's opponents Udinese, with one further point enough to secure a place in at least the top ten.

Two more wins, however, are still required to achieve Ranieri's often-stated aim of accumulating 52 points, and a kind conclusion to the fixture list should aid the Blucerchiati in that regard. After travelling to Friuli at the weekend, Samp host relegated Parma on the final day - a game which will serve as the former Leicester City manager's farewell to Marassi, if rumours of his exit are to be believed.

Sampdoria have won all of their last four Serie A encounters with Udinese - scoring at least two goals on each occasion - so recent precedent will be in their favour on Sunday, as they seek to give their fondly-regarded coach a fitting send-off in the final week.

Udinese saw their own lingering ambitions of a top-half finish take a severe hit on Tuesday, as they crumbled under a late onslaught from high-flying Napoli to lose 5-1 at Stadio Maradona.

Despite pulling back to within a goal of their hosts through Stefano Okaka's well-taken strike, the Zebrette buckled badly, with a lame showing in the final half-hour of the game proving decisive.

A run of six defeats from their last nine matches has seen hopes of catching Sampdoria and Verona virtually evaporate - as they are now six and three points behind them respectively and have yet to face newly-crowned champions Inter, who they meet on the final day.

Not only that, but the Bianconeri are enduring a period where they have been beset by numerous injuries, with two more players going down in the run-up to the Napoli game and several others running on empty according to coach Luca Gotti.

Like his opposite number on Sunday, Gotti's future in the dugout remains shrouded in uncertainty, as the former assistant to Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea has often mentioned his preference for the number two role.

With his future and that of talismanic captain Rodrigo De Paul - the club's leading scorer and assist-maker from midfield - still very much up in the air, Udinese will now aim to finish the season with a flourish, ahead of the duo's possible summer departure.

Udinese Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Sampdoria Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

Udinese's injury woes show no sign of receding, as German midfielder Tolgay Arslan has sustained a bruised knee, with defenders Bram Nuytinck and Sebastien De Maio - due to a minor muscular issue - the Friulani's other latest doubts ahead of their penultimate game.

Manchester City loanee Jayden Braaf was previously added to their list of attacking absentees with a knee injury, and the Dutch forward joins former Watford men Ignacio Pussetto and Gerard Deulofeu - plus Ilija Nestorovski - in missing the finale of the 2020-21 season.

Therefore, either Stefano Okaka (scorer of the Zebrette's only goal in Naples) or Fernando Llorente - recently returned from a back problem - should start as the hosts' lone striker on Sunday, while final-third support should again come from Argentinian duo Roberto Pereyra and Rodrigo De Paul: Udinese's top scorer with nine goals.

By contrast, visiting coach Claudio Ranieri has few major absences ahead of Sunday's game. Only midfield pair Adrien Silva and Morten Thorsby are seriously doubtful, with central-defender Omar Colley a lesser concern, having trained separately during the week.

Given the short turnaround in fixtures, though, the Sampdoria supremo may again make personnel changes - particularly up front - so Keita Balde could start after scoring late on last time out.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, Bonifazi, Zeegelaar; Molina, De Paul, Walace, Makengo, Larsen; Pereyra; Okaka

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Tonelli, Augello; Candreva, Verre, Ekdal, Jankto; Quagliarella, Keita

We say: Udinese 1-2 Sampdoria

As Udinese's form has been tailing off for some time - perhaps since they effectively sealed safety last month - they are unlikely to turn it around against a Sampdoria side who can be surprisingly potent on their day.

The visitors, then, can make use of their superior attacking options to seal their top-half spot with a fourth win in seven games.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420
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CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116
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