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Sep 26, 2021 at 2pm UK

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Preview: Udinese vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Fiorentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Despite a midweek loss on home territory, Fiorentina have started the Serie A season with a new lease of life, and they now visit Udinese at Stadio Friuli on Sunday.

While the Viola were beaten by champions Inter on Tuesday, their hosts lost a second successive game to falter after a successful start of their own.

Match preview

In the latest demonstration of their new-found fearlessness, Fiorentina's last league outing saw them threaten to overrun the current Scudetto holders in the first half at Stadio Artemio Franchi, though they later went onto finish their midweek match empty-handed.

Riccardo Sottil deservedly put Vincenzo Italiano's enterprising side in the ascendancy with a 23rd-minute goal, which earned the Viola a merited half-time lead. However, a second-half fightback from their Milanese visitors saw the game end 3-1 - a somewhat flattering outcome for the reigning champions.

Nonetheless, after a period flitting between strife and mediocrity, Fiorentina can now aspire to greater things, as they seem transformed under former Spezia coach Italiano this term and have also added some astute signings to their playing staff.

Coming into the weekend's action, they sit sixth in the Serie A standings with three wins from five games and are now on course to win three consecutive away games in the top flight for the first time since April 2018.

The Tuscan outfit's opponents this Sunday afternoon have only beaten them once in the sides' last 10 league meetings, giving them further cause to expect they will win and therefore match that streak. In doing so, Fiorentina would also post their best points tally after six games since the 2015-16 season - when they ultimately finished fifth.

Udinese's fruitful spell at the start of their 2021-22 campaign came to a shuddering halt this week, as the fixture computer served up back-to-back games against southern giants Napoli and Roma; both currently in top form.

Monday evening saw league leaders Napoli beat the Bianconeri 4-0 in Udine, as the hosts conceded two goals in either half and were barely able to respond: registering just one shot on target despite having home advantage.

Then just three days later, Udinese went down 1-0 in a close-fought encounter with Roma, as Tammy Abraham's close-range strike proved enough to see off the challenge of Luca Gotti's side.

Until a week ago, the Friulani had previously conceded just three goals in both league and cup this term, while winning two and drawing one of their opening three Serie A matches - their only failure to claim maximum points coming versus Juventus. Stretching back to last season, though, Udinese have kept a clean sheet only once in their last nine home games; losing on six occasions during that particularly unproductive spell.

Much of last term's struggles were down to a lack of sharpness in and around the opposition area, and Gotti has now seen his team manage only a solitary strike in their last three competitive outings - something which must change rapidly if they are to get the better of Fiorentina this weekend.

Udinese Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Udinese form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Fiorentina Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Fiorentina form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

While they may make changes, having already played twice in the space of three days this week, Udinese have only cruciate ligament injury victim Ilijia Nestorovski and their most recent recruit from Watford, striker Isaac Success, out of action ahead of Fiorentina's visit.

Teenage defender Destiny Udogie returned from a muscular injury ahead of schedule to feature in midweek and may be involved again, but faces stiff competition from Jens Stryger Larsen for a spot on the left flank of Luca Gotti's customary 3-5-2.

The hosts are once again poised to field another ex-Hornets trio - Gerard Deulofeu, Ignacio Pussetto and Roberto Pereyra - as their most attacking players; with the latter starting in support of the former pair up front.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, have three significant absences to deal with, as Lorenzo Venuti injured his shoulder last week and may only be risked on the bench - allowing Alvaro Odriozola to continue at right-back - while Gaetano Castrovilli is out until next month and Nicolas Gonzalez must serve a suspension for his red card against Inter, which was awarded for dissent.

Therefore, in the front three of Vincenzo Italiano's 4-3-3 formation, Riccardo Saponara and Jose Callejon are the top contenders to replace the Argentinian winger on Sunday - midweek goalscorer Riccardo Sottil and star striker Dusan Vlahovic should be retained.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Molina, Makengo, Walace, Pereyra, Stryger Larsen; Pussetto, Deulofeu

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Odriozola, Milenkovic, Igor, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Amrabat; Callejon, Vlahovic, Sottil

We say: Udinese 1-1 Fiorentina

Udinese finally broke their long winless run against Fiorentina earlier this year and are set to back up that first win for four years with a draw versus the Viola at the weekend.

Though the home side are short of a true goalscorer - while their visitors always pose a penalty-box threat when Dusan Vlahovic is around - they can grind out a point to stop their losing trend of recent days.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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