Edinson Cavani of Napoli and Giampiero Pinzi of Udinese in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Udinese Calcio at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Udinese and Napoli are both looking to grab control of the race for a Champions League place on Sunday.
With Lazio as incredibly inconsistent as they are and both Roma and Inter Milan well behind third place, a Champions League spot is up for the taking for both Napoli and Udinese. If either can find a way to grab all three points in Udine on Sunday, they could instantly establish themselves as the favorites over Udinese for that third spot.
Both are out of Europe after heartbreaking mid-week losses,and will now be completely focused on trying to finish in third place for the final 11 games of their Serie A seasons. Both are having to deal with some injury issues, with Napoli's likely hitting a bit harder.
Emmanuel Badu and Mauricio Isla are both still out for Udinese, but Antonio Di Natale is back to full fitness and will be a massive boost for the Zebrette. There are doubts over the fitness of Dusan Basta, and it will be interesting to see how Francesco Guidolin accounds for not having him or Isla. Joel Ekstrand played right wing in the 1-0 loss to Novara last week and the drop-off was noticeable.
Napoli are likely going to be without Christian Maggio, and they might struggle if he is unable to play. Chelsea attacked Andrea Dossena constantly when he replaced Maggio in Champions League and the results were not good. If Basta and Isla were 100 percent fit, that single matchup would make Udinese heavy favorites.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, March 18, 3:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local
Venue: Stadio Friuli, Udine, Italy
TV: FOX Soccer Channel (USA - English), FOX Deportes (USA - Spanish), EuroWorld Sport (Canada - English), Telelatino (Canada - Italian/Spanish), ESPN (UK)