Comparison with previous season: +7 (14th)
To put it bluntly, not much was expected from Udinese this season. Gone are the days when the Zebrette mixed it up with Italy’s big sides and successfully battled for a spot in the Europa or Champions League. After finishing 14th last season with 40 points, the goal was quite simple this time around: avoid the drop. They have done just that, and even bettered last season’s total by a slight margin, so it’s pretty safe to say that they met their objectives and can look forward to (hopefully) a better campaign next term.
Turning point of the season
Unlike past campaigns, Udinese were never in danger of relegation, but at the same time, they were never near pushing for a European spot. They mostly remained in the bottom half of the table – save for the early stages when they rose to as high as fifth. However, their stunning 4-0 win over Fiorentina was probably the turning point of their campaign. This victory was notable as clean sheets for Udinese have been a rarity this season and marked the first time the Zebrette had managed this feat since beating Torino 2-0 on February 6. Unfortunately, any goodwill that existed after that victory was swiftly undone in a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Spezia on the penultimate day of the season.
The coaches – Luca Gotti and Gabriele Cioffi
Brought in after Luca Gotti’s dismissal, Gabriele Cioffi managed to steer the proverbial wobbly ship and ensure that Udinese safely navigated their way through another challenging campaign. It remains to be seen whether he will still be at the help of the Zebrette at the start of next season, but he can certainly feel satisfied with keeping Udinese afloat for another term in Italian football’s top flight. It is never easy to come in and take over when a team is in crisis, but Cioffi has not only helped Udinese achieve their main goal – survival – but ensured they ended up slightly better off than last term.
Player of the year – Gerard Deulofeu
As a youngster, there were certainly high hopes for Gerard Deulofeu at Barcelona, where he made his first team appearance at just 17. However, things did not pan out as planned, and after a somewhat nomadic existence, the Spanish international arrived at Udinese in October 2020, first on loan, and then he was signed permanently in January of 2021. With 12 goals and five assists, this has arguably been the 28-year-old’s most productive season so far, and it will be interesting to see if he can replicate this same kind of form next season.
Disappointment of the year – Roberto Pereyra
Udinese certainly had some hopes when they opted to re-sign Roberto Pereyra a bit under two years ago, but things for the Argentinian midfielder have not progressed as the player and the club would have liked. This season saw him pick up more cards than goals, where he earned eight yellows and one red in 23 appearances versus a measly two goals during that run. It must be noted that the former Juventus and Watford midfielder has been struggling with injuries this season, missing as many as 16 games due to physical issues. He was supposed to be Udinese’s added value. Hopefully, he will provide vital help next season when the Bianconeri will try to get more than mere survival.