Inter Milan Vs. Udinese, 2011 Serie A: Preview -- From Whither The Goals?

Claudio Ranieri seems intent on convincing the world that Inter Milan are still in the race for the scudetto, despite sitting 15th, 13 points off league leaders and rivals AC Milan. Sure, the nerazzurri have one their last two Serie A matches, but let's not forget that one of those was at home to Cagliari, and the other required an 90h minute shot from Luc Castaignos to snatch all three points at Siena. In short, not much to back up Ranieri's assertion that Inter remain title favorites.

Udinese, meanwhile, remain third in the table, and could see themselves even on points with Milan should they take all three on Saturday. It could be a struggle for the zebrette, however: Francesco Guidolin has been playing a more second-string side in the Europa League, befitting to the size of his squad, but with the opportunity to move to the next round on the line, Udinese fielded a strong squad to earn a draw against Rennais midweek. Guidolin also has a bit of a defensive headache, with Maurizio Domizzi forced to leave the pitch after just 18 minutes last weekend, replaced by Damiano Ferronetti.

Of course, Ranieri is facing even greater selection problems, with Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan still injured, and Lucio and Maicon both hurt. Stopping Udinese? A greater problem last year -- but this year's side is much more likely to concentrate on the defense themselves, rather than putting forth a free-flowing attack. Udinese have conceded just six goals in Serie A this season, and with a serious striker shortage -- Inter is likely to field the inconsistent Giampiero Pazzini up front -- the question for this match won't be how many goals will be scored, but whether one will come at all.

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