Monday, October 13 th, 2014
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Why Udinese will be Serie A's new prodigy this season
Four wins, one draw and only one loss: is Udinese the new sensation of the Italian tournament? The new coach changed some details of Guidolin's oiled mechanism, and he succeeded
by Alessio Manes
Raise your hand if you expected Udinese to be third on the table after the fifth Serie A's game. I did, and I am not ostensibly surprised. Yet another incredible start for the Pozzo family that once again managed to shape an outstanding squad for the current season. Udinese's secret weapon has always been talent scouting around the world discovering young talents to join Serie A by crafting a mix team of experienced players and youngsters, and once again, Udinese seems to have done it again this season.

Only a last-minute penalty prevented Udinese from reaching the second place together with Roma, as Stramaccioni's side conceded the equaliser in the home game vs Cesena in the second minute of the added time in the 6th matchday. The Friulani whipped away Parma in astonishing fashion in the 5th matchday, with a superb performance scoring a total of four goals. After conquering the Stadio Olimpico against Lazio with a tight 0-1 win, Andrea Stramaccioni confirmed that his new 3-5-2 tactic works. Unlike former coach Guidolin, Andrea Stramaccioni has apparently succeeded in merging consistency and quality within its group of players. Stramaccioni's 3-5-2 is not that different to Guidolin's 3-5-1-1, however, its main characteristic is low ball possession, playing a lot in their own half and creating chances by through balls.

Thus, nearly 77% of their passing is based on successful short passes either at home or away. No matter what, players such as Danilo and Allan both attempt to attack through the middle of the field. In addition, with an average of 10 shots per game, unlike the past years, both strikers play close enough to squeeze the opposite centre defence in order to create enough space for the two wings to get through. This is possible thanks to the impressive speed of its main strikers Antonio Di Natale and Cyril Thereau, who both manage to give depth to Udinese's maneuvers.

So far, Udinese has been playing some great football – especially upfront. Andrea Stramaccioni seems to be part of this prodigious start, although bits of uncertainty are still evident. Even if the team has scored a total of 9 goals, the defence has still much to improved match after match. Big issues arise during free-kicks as well as corner-kicks. In fact, most of the potential troubles were part of constant negligence from the back. I personally believe that Udinese is on the right track although there is still lots to do. On the long-run it will be fairly tough for Andrea Stramaccioni to keep this level of concentration but at least the Pozzos have surely found the new Guidolin.

Friday, October 10 th, 2014
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