Catch up on the affairs of our Italian and Spanish brothers during October
UDINESE endured a tough October, losing three of their four Serie A fixtures, including a 1-0 home defeat by Rudi Garcia`s table-topping Roma.
Indeed, it was only a late goal from United States international Michael Bradley that condemned the Zebrette to defeat, the midfielder bagging eight minutes from time to claim the three points, despite the Giallorosso being down to 10 men since the 66th minute.
The month had begun with much greater promise, with the Zebrette defeating Cagliari – former employers of one Gianfranco Zola – by two goals to nil.
Centre-half Danilo got the opener in the first-half and eight minutes after the break, Antonio Di Natale made sure of the points with his third goal of the season.
Next up was a visit to the San Siro and a 1-0 defeat by a struggling Milan side. The Rossoneri have begun the last couple of seasons slowly before recovering and took the lead after 22 minutes through Valter Birsa, hanging on for the win.
Defeat at home to Roma was next, with former Manchester City and Internazionale defender Maicon dismissed in the 66th minute, Udinese smelt blood, but were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage before Bradley scored in the 82nd minute.
After back-to-back defeats, Udinese ended the month with more promise, beating newly-promoted Sassuolo 2-1 away from home.
Di Natale put the visiting Zebrette ahead from the spot after 18 minutes, but Simone Zaza put the hosts on terms just seven minutes later.
Luis Muriel`s goal 11 minutes after the re-start was enough to earn Udinese their fourth Serie A win of the season and any hope of a comeback was extinguished when Zaza was dismissed 10 minutes from time.
The name Alexander Merkel has been thrown around by Hornets fans recently, with a January move to Vicarage Road being touted for the German.
However, there could be two less welcome departures from the Stadio Friuli, with Internazionale and current title-holder Juventus both believed to be interested in the services of left wing-back Gabriel Silva.
Another Udinese player interested Inter is versatile right-sider Dustan Basta. The Serbian, 29, said of a potential move to the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium: “I would be happy to wear the Inter shirt one day.
“I am fine at Udinese at the moment. But if a bid came in then we`d have to see what happened.”
Inter were linked with the services of the former Red Star Belgrade defender over the summer too.
In Andalusia, it was a tough month for Granada too – beaten in three of their four La Liga clashes.
October began with a 3-0 humbling against newly-promoted Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine opened the scoring after half an hour through Bruno before ex-Spurs and Barcelona forward Giovanni Dos Santos grabbed the second four minutes after the break.
Pina got the third in the 82nd minute to complete a comfortable win for the former UEFA Champions League semi-finalists.
A 2-0 defeat at home to Getafe followed, with an own-goal from Jeison Murillo two minutes after half-time putting Getafe ahead before former Real Madrid winger Pedro Leon compouned the damage in the 55th minute.
Two make matters worse for coach Lucas Alcaraz, Senegalese centre-half Papa Diakhate was sent-off for a second yellow card after just 32 minutes.
El Grana`s sole victory of the month came in a 1-0 win at Elche, midfielder Manuel Iturra scoring the game`s decisive goal in the 26th minute.
Victory was soured somewhat by the racist abuse Cameroonian right-back Allan Nyom – on-loan from Udinese – received, an offence which could cost Elche a meagre ?4,000 fine.
The month ended in controversy as Granada went down 2-1 at home to high-flying Atletico Madrid thanks to two contentious penalty decisions.
Alcaraz was clearly irked by the referee`s performance and speaking afterwards said: “There have been two penalties given in this game, but for me, neither one of them should have been.
“They`ve determined and changed the development of the game. [David] Villa dived and he didn`t get a card, he got a penalty,” lamented Alcaraz.
Former Barca and Valencia forward David Villa scored the second 12 minutes time after the in-form Diego Costa had opened the scoring with a 38th minute spot kick of his own.
Odion Ighalo got one back for the hosts in the 90th minute and even with the last gasp dismissal of left-back Filipe Luis, victory was beyond Granada.