Udinese have made a tremendous start to the new season and their hard-earned 1-1 draw at Celtic when fielding a weakened side suggests that they have the strength in depth to maintain their challenge. Coach Francesco Guidolin is well aware that it is a long campaign and is cautiously optimistic. “We have started better than last season,” He said. “This is a positive thing but we have to take it one game at a time. This will be a long campaign for us and we will have to work harder than last year.”
Juventus have also been fast out of the blocks in Serie A and put their unbeaten record on the line against defending champions AC Milan. A 1-1 draw at Catania put Antonio Conte’s side level on eight points with Udinese at the top of the league, with Milan three points behind them.
“This game will have more significance for us than it will be for Milan,” Juventus keeper Buffon told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Milan is the reference team this season, they are the defending champions. This game will give us a strong indication as to where we are at in terms of our growth.”
A 2-0 midweek victory over Viktoria Plzen gave the Rossoneri their first Champions League win this season and the return of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic played an important part in that game. “I feel much better but I’m not yet 100%,” Ibrahimovic said. With a penalty and an assist to his credit on his return the prospect of more to come can only be bad news for their Italian league rivals.
Lazio suffered a Europa League defeat at Sporting Lisbon with a first-half injury time goal which was harsh on the away side. Lazio coach Reja felt too much time had been added on. “The rules clearly state that the referee should blow the whistle once the injury time is over,” Reja said. “Yet the referee went for 23 seconds more, and then even after they scored, he continued. I just don’t understand the way he calculated time.” Reja is now turning his attentions back to Serie A where a weekend victory could propel them towards the top of the table.
Fiorentina, Lazio’s next opponents, go into the match after a goalless draw at Napoli which took them to 5th place in Serie A. “I can only congratulate my players because it’s not easy to come away with the Stadio San Paolo with a point,” Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said.