2015-16 SERIE A REVIEW

UDINESE

2015-16 review

Serie A Pts P W D L F A
17th 39 38 10 9 19 35 60

Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: 3 / Top scorer: Thereau (12)

Rarely have the Friulani struggled so much, as they failed to deliver football worthy of their gorgeous new stadium, writes Susy Campanale.
 

Friuli flops

 
Incredibly, Udinese finished the season in 17th place, just one point clear of Carpi and the relegation zone. Never have they cut it so fine and it was a loud wake-up call for the Pozzo family, who have been pouring more resources and focus into their other projects Watford and Granada. They even took the very unusual step of sacking Coach Stefano Colantuono, not that things improved much under Gigi De Canio. 
 
Yet the season could not have started in a more positive fashion, a shock 1-0 victory away to reigning champions Juventus in the first round. That was swiftly followed by four consecutive defeats. 
 
The club that prided itself on churning out talents, mostly spotted by an extraordinary scouting network in South America, suddenly ran dry and the squad was barely worthy of a place in the top flight. The defence was disastrous, shipping 60 goals in 38 rounds, with Dias Felipe and Danilo more likely to get sent off or give away a penalty than make a clean tackle. 
 
It’s particularly embarrassing that it took Udinese over a month to get their first home win after the stunning Dacia Arena was inaugurated with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Juventus on January 17. Now all the club needs is a team worthy of only the third club-owned stadium in Serie A.
 
It was a sad way to say goodbye to Antonio Di Natale, as the club legend left after 12 years in his adopted home town. Ultimately even he only managed two goals in a campaign dogged by injury problems and tension, having been talked out of retirement the previous summer. Duvan Zapata, on loan from Napoli, was also injured for much of the season and others simply didn’t deliver.

The Coach - Stefano Colantuono (Weeks 1-29) Gigi De Canio (Weeks 30-38)

Colantuono capitulated after a dire tally of eight wins in the opening 29 rounds. Above all, it was ugly, negative football, something Udinese fans won’t stand for. The standard didn’t particularly improve under De Canio, but they were more clinical, ruining Napoli’s Scudetto ambitions with a shock 3-1 victory.

Player of the Year - Cyril Thereau

The former Chievo striker with the lipstick neck tattoo emerged from under Di Natale’s shadow to become top scorer and was often the last to give in when his teammates seemed to be flagging. Perhaps that’s because he was more accustomed to a relegation scrap than the rest of them.

Did you know? 

- Antonio Di Natale waved goodbye after 227 goals in 445 competitive games for Udinese.
 
- Orestis Karnezis was one of only two players to feature in every minute of the Serie A season, the other being Sampdoria goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.
 
- Gigi De Canio had already been Udinese Coach from 1999 to 2001, but had been out of work since the Catania sacking in January 2014.

Squad

No Pos Player Apps Gls Assists
31 GK Orestis Karnezis 38 - -
27 D Silvan Widmer 27 (6) - 3
5 D Danilo 34 - -
75 D Thomas Heurtaux 15 (5) - -
17 D Pablo Armero 5 - -
21 D Edenilson 29 (3) - -
53 D Ali Adnan 28 (7) 1 1
2 D Molla Wague 21 (1) - -
30 D Dias Felipe 26 1 1
11 D Maurizio Domizzi 5 (2) - -
8 M Bruno Fernandes 31 (7) 3 4
7 M Emmanuel Badu 33 (3) 4 2
33 M Panagiotis Kone 5 (3) - 1
19 M Guilherme 5 (1) - -
55 M Emil Hallfredsson 11 (4) - -
89 M Ivan Piris 27 (7) - -
16 M Manuel Iturra 17 (3) - 1
20 M Francesco Lodi 24 (4) 1 1
22 M Zdravko Kuzmanovic 16 (3) - -
23 M Marquinho 11 (7) - -
52 M Alexander Merkel 1 - -
26 M Giovanni Pasquale 6 (4) - -
9 A Duvan Zapata 25 (7) 8 3
88 A Ryder Matos 11 (7) - 1
77 A Cyril Thereau 36 (2) 11 3
74 A Rodrigo Aguirre 10 (7) - 1
10 A Antonio Di Natale 23 (11) 2 4
18 A Stipe Perica 11 (6) 2 -