Udinese vs. Atalanta, Preview: In-form Zebrette gun for Europe

Dino Panato

Udinese will hope to continue their late surge up the Serie A table against an Atalanta side who are now mathematically safe from relegation.

Udinese have hit form just at the right time, and following their thrilling victory over Palermo in midweek, which all but consigned their opponents to Serie B, are now on a run of six straight victories and seven matches unbeaten, a run stretching back to the middle of March. They sit in sixth, two points above Roma courtesy of the Giallorossi's abject midweek loss to Chievo and another venture into Europe for a third consecutive season looks to be within their grasp should they carry on their stellar recent run. It's a credit to Francesco Guidolin that the standard of the club hasn't dropped considerably given the amount of players they have lost over the past few seasons, Antonio Di Natale being the one constant producing fine season after fine season, 20 goals this season meaning he's scored at least that amount for four consecutive seasons. Luis Muriel seems to be the newest discovery and with 10 goals in 20 appearances in his debut Serie A season, there's no doubt that the bigger clubs will be circling around him come the summer.

Despite losing 1-0 to Juventus in midweek, Atalanta are now mathematically safe in Serie A and can look forward to another season of top-flight football, shrugging off the turmoil of last summer's match-fixing scandal and the two point deduction that came with it. They aren't on the best run currently, the only win in their last eight matches was their 4-3 victory over Inter at the San Siro, with German Denis' hat-trick turning the match on its head with Inter 3-1 to the good. The goals of 'Il Tanque' have been key to Atalanta's season, the Argentine striker netting 15 of the team's 36 goals and without his reliable scoring, the season may have had a very different hue for the Bergamo side.

Udinese are free of any injury worries, only Andrea Lazzari will miss out. Atalanta have a few more problems, Marko Livaja and Riccardo Cazzola both in the medical room whilst Luca Cigarini and Guglielmo Stendardo are suspended and there are host of players doubtful for La Dea.

Udinese injuries and suspensions

Out: Andrea Lazzari (injured).

Atalanta injuries and suspensions

Out: Marko Livaja, Riccardo Cazzola, Franco Brienza, Guido Marilungo (injured); Guglielmo Stendardo, Luca Cigarini (suspended). In doubt: Cristian Raimondi, Stefano Lucchini, Igor Budan

Match date/time: Sunday 12th May 2013, 15:00 local, 09:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Friuli, Udine

TV: Sky Calcio 3, Premium Calcio (Italy), RAI Internazionale (USA)

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