Top scorer: Antonio Di Natale - 28
Europe: Did not compete
THE COACH - Francesco Guidolin
Having coached Udinese once before in the 1998-99 season, Guidolin came back last year and initially looked set to struggle as they side lost their first four games. In time, though, he managed to get them playing fast, effective football, which saw them start their rise up the table.
By the second half of the season they were devastating, scoring 35 goals in a 13-game unbeaten run, with their 3-4-1-2 system proving hugely successful on their way to fourth place. Apart from a short spell with Monaco, Guidolin has had a great record with provincial sides in Italy, gaining promotions with Vicenza, Palermo and Parma.
THE STAR PLAYER - Antonio Di Natale
The 33-year-old has struck 57 goals in the last two seasons, gaining back-to-back goalscoring crowns as a result. With hat-tricks against Lecce, Napoli and Palermo last term, he led from the front after a poor start, and his belief in his ability when bearing down on goal was one of Udinese’s most effective weapons.
He formed a great pairing with Alexis Sanchez up front, but has also fitted in with more orthodox attackers such as German Denis, Antonio Floro Flores and Bernardo Corradi, having previously been one half of a very successful partnership with Vincenzo Iaquinta. His demand for the ball at all times can be divisive when he or his team are struggling, but devastating when on form.
THE PLAYING STYLE
Last season they were simply the most attractive side in Italy. Based on their back three of Benatia, Zapata and Domizzi, and their holding midfielder Gokhan Inler, they used their solid platform to allow them to use their width to great advantage.
With Pablo Armero on the left and Mauricio Isla on the right they have two very clever attackers who seem to know exactly how they can best hurt their opposition. With Kwadwo Asamoah a very intelligent foil in centre midfield, it has allowed the likes of Giampiero Pinzi, Di Natale and the departed Alexis Sanchez to thrive. Despite having lost Zapata, Inler and Sanchez this summer, there is no reason to believe they’ll change their flowing style of football.