Preview: Fiorentina vs. Udinese – prediction, team news

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Serie A clash between Fiorentina and Udinese, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking to pick up where they left off at the end of 2021, Fiorentina resume Serie A action with the visit of Udinese on Thursday evening.

Vincenzo Italiano‘s men played out a 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona before the winter hiatus, while the visitors’ proposed clash with Salernitana was postponed.

Match preview

© Reuters

The European charge is well and truly alive for Fiorentina in 2022, with La Viola embarking on a five-game unbeaten run in the top flight before the Christmas break, but two stalemates with bottom-half sides Sassuolo and Hellas Verona did halt the momentum somewhat.

Fiorentina fell behind to Hellas Verona on December 22 courtesy of Kevin Lasagna‘s effort before the break, but half-time substitute Gaetano Castrovilli headed home with nine minutes remaining to rescue a point for the continental outsiders.

La Viola took 11 points from 15 on offer in their final five Serie A clashes of 2021 and head into the New Year seventh in the table – level on points with sixth-placed Roma and only six behind Atalanta BC in the fourth and final Champions League spot.

With star striker Dusan Vlahovic hinting that he will remain at the club for the remainder of the season in order to spearhead their European charge, Fiorentina are well-placed to challenge for a top-six place, starting with another encounter at the fortress that is the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Indeed, Italiano’s men have won five and drawn one of their last six Serie A games on home soil – scoring a whopping 19 goals in that hot streak – so an inconsistent Udinese sure do have their work cut out for them this week.

Udinese trio Gerard Deulofeu, Stefano Okaka and Samir celebrating their second goal on August 22, 2021© Reuters

Amid another COVID-related confusion storm, Udinese’s proposed final game of the calendar year versus Salernitana did not take place before the winter break, with the league’s basement side not making the journey to the Dacia Arena after being banned from travelling.

Such a farcical situation means that Udinese rounded off 2021 with back-to-back 4-0 wins in the Coppa Italia and Serie A, firstly seeing off Crotone 4-0 in the cup before putting four unanswered goals past Cagliari on December 18.

Gabriele Cioffi‘s side had previously gone five top-flight games without a win before that thumping at Cagliari, with their struggles for consistency seeing them occupy a lowly 14th in the table ahead of this contest – safely nine points clear of the bottom three with a game in hand, though.

Udinese have only beaten Cagliari and Spezia away from home so far this season – which makes for bleak reading before the trip to Fiorentina’s fortress – and victories over La Viola have also been hard to come by in recent times.

Indeed, Udinese have won just one of their last 11 top-flight encounters with Fiorentina – losing 1-0 earlier this term courtesy of a Vlahovic winner – and the visitors are also on a miserable 13-game losing streak in Serie A on La Viola’s turf since a 2-1 win in 2007.

Fiorentina Serie A form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

Udinese Serie A form:

Udinese form (all competitions):

Team News

Lucas Torreira in action for Fiorentina in November 2021© Reuters

Fiorentina substitute Riccardo Saponara lasted just six minutes against Hellas Verona as a substitute before suffering a wrist injury, but the playmaker is thought to be in line for a return here alongside goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski.

Sofyan Amrabat is currently with the Morocco team for the Africa Cup of Nations, and the hosts have also confirmed the signing of Jonathan Ikone from Ligue 1 champions Lille.

The 23-year-old could very well make his debut for La Viola on Thursday, especially with Riccardo Sottil possibly missing out amid COVID-19 fears.

As for Udinese, there are no AFCON or COVID-related absences to report ahead of Thursday’s game, but Jens Stryger Larsen may not be available amid his contract standoff.

Former Watford man Roberto Pereyra is expected to miss another few weeks at least with his shoulder injury, so Jean-Victor Makengo – who scored in the thumping of Cagliari – is set to man the engine room.

Cioffi otherwise has no reason to alter a winning formula on Thursday, as Beto and Gerard Deulofeu occupy the two spots in the final third for the visitors.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Terracciano; Odriozola, Milenkovic, Quarta, Terzic; Duncan, Torreira, Castrovilli; Ikone, Vlahovic, Gonzalez

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Samir, Nuytinck, Becao; Molina, Makengo, Arslan, Walace, Udogie; Deulofeu, Beto

SM words green background

We say: Fiorentina 3-1 Udinese

An entertaining spectacle should be in store between two sides who have no problems making the net ripple, but Udinese’s astounding losing streak in this fixture will likely be extended here.

With Vlahovic in red-hot form and French title-winner Ikone looking to hit the ground running, we expect Fiorentina’s European charge to gather pace with plenty of goals on the way.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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