A gulf in class
Udinese will host Roma at 2PM on Saturday at the Dacia Arena. Roma are not quite at the level they would have liked to be but they are starting to show signs of their old self. Udinese are operating as usual, they have already been through two managers and we are only halfway through November. There will be a huge gulf in class come Saturday.
Nine points from twelve matches and only four of those points have been secured at home. A victory against Sampdoria in August and a draw against Torino in September. Needless to say their home record is appalling. Their last four home games have ended in a loss and their players are being heavily criticised.
Gian Piero Ventura hasn't really got a grip of the situation and now they've hired Davide Nicola as manager. They are missing a goalscorer in the squad, even Lasagna looks like a shadow of the player he was last season. In the the last four matches at home Udinese have only scored one goal.
The only positive thing about Udinese this season is that they are not letting in that many goals, mainly thanks to their best player, the goalkeeper Scuffet. 0.50 goals scored and 1.50 conceded at home this season, numbers that are pretty much in line with what they could have expected.
Now Udinese will meet Roma, a team that they have historically struggled against. The last ten matches between the two teams have ended with a Roma victory. Udinese have a few small injury concerns, they will be without Bram Nuytinck on Saturday.
- League Position: 17
It is hard to evaluate Roma's season so far. It has definitely not been a success, but at the same time if you sold half your squad in the summer transfer window then you can expect a slow start to the season. In the Champions League Roma have performed better, and even though their progress in the Serie A hasn't been great, they are starting to look better and better with each game. This development was demonstrated when they surprised us all in their last match when they beat Sampdoria 4-1 at home.
They've also not lost away from home since the middle of September, and out of the last five matches they have only won three. There are signs that they are on the up. Roma have averaged 1.00 goals scored and 1.00 goals conceded away from home this season, which are not impressive figures, but it looks like they are going to improve over the next few months.
The problem for Roma is scoring goals, but Udinese are so bereft of any real quality at the moment, that finding the back of the net shouldn't be a problem for Roma in this match. It was also important that Dzeko got off the mark in the domestic league, meaning that all the goal scoring responsibility didn't just lie on El Shaarawy's shoulders.
There are a number of injuries in the Roma team: De rossi, Pastore, Manolas as well as others. But unlike Udinese, Roma have quality on their bench.
- League Position: 6
Neither of these teams have begun this season very impressively, but Roma are still clearly the better team. Roma have, unlike Udinese, shown signs of improvement. Roma have won ten of their last meetings against Udinese, and will most likely do it again on Saturday. There is a gulf in talent between the two teams. I'm betting on a Roma victory at odds of 5/6.