Fiorentina are able to welcome Kalinic back into their squad after he missed the last two games through injury, which is positive news, and he stands a good chance of starting to boost their goal threat. With Sanchez banned, a defensive change is needed, although it should be a neutral one, while there could be further rotation to freshen them up a bit. Saponara makes the squad for the first time. Paulo Sousa’s side suffered a demoralising midweek defeat at Roma and the pressure is on them to bounce back in a positive fashion, with only a win a satisfactory outcome. Morale has been affected and their inconsistent season continues to hamper their bid to climb the table and cement a place in the Europa League. They’ll believe they can emerge victorious at home, but confidence isn’t great. They’ll look to dominate possession and take the game to Udinese, but often find it tough when faced with a packed defence, struggling to create clear cut chances. Getting an early goal would help them quite a bit, but as they’ve conceded in each of their last seven at home, they may need to score more than once to win. They have the quality to win, but have drawn more than half their home games.
Udinese have their strongest team available and close to a full squad at the disposal of Delneri, although they’ve been shook by the news new signing Gnoukouri will be missing for three months due to the discovery of a heart condition. They could be unchanged from the Chievo draw, but Kums is pushing for a midfield recall, while Agyemang-Badu is back from international duty to boost options. The visitors will be looking to cause a bit of an upset and are in a more positive frame of mind after halting their run of three straight defeats by taking four points from their last two games. Their away form isn’t particularly good, so they may not have full belief that they can win the game, but they’ll certainly believe they can take a point, which would be a positive outcome. Having seen Fiorentina struggle to break teams down despite bossing possession, Udinese are likely to focus on keeping it tight by defending in a low block and in an organised manner, not really taking many risks. They’ll try to make the most of counters and set pieces, potentially growing in belief if they can stay on level terms until the final quarter of the game, with a draw a pleasing result.
Verdict & Prediction
Fiorentina suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Roma in midweek, but what was more demoralising was the manner of the defeat, with them performing badly as a team. That won’t have been great for confidence and their morale may have been reduced as a result. They’ll want to bounce back however, and only three points from this fixture at home to Udinese will please them. They’ll be keen to get their European challenge back on track and will believe they can win in front of their own supporters, although the pressure is on them to react to the Roma loss.
Prediction: Fiorentina -1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 2.36 Pinnacle, SBOBET