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Udinese host Fiorentina in Serie A this weekend, as 13th play 14th.
Luca Gotti’s Udinese sit a place and two points behind Giuseppe Iachini’s Fiorentina. They’re winless in six in the league and are fast falling towards the relegation zone – only seven five points separate Udinese from 18th-place Genoa.
It’ll be Udinese’s first domestic game in two weeks having thrashed Serie D side Cjarlins Muzane 13-1 in a friendly, with hat-tricks for all of Lukasz Teodorczyk, Rodrigo De Paul and Ilija Nestorovski. Gotti will be expecting a much tougher task against Fiorentina though, who’ve only lost two of their last eight in Serie A.
They too have had a two-week break and hosted Milan in their last league game. Ten-man Fiorentina managed to come back from a goal behind to draw the game 1-1 – Erick Pulgar with his fourth goal of the season.
Giuseppe Iachini, a former Udinese coach, was appointed Fiorentina manager shortly before Christmas. He’s since overseen ten games in all competitions, winning four, drawing three and losing three. He’s had a definite impact on the team since his arrival. They’ve picked up good wins against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia and against Napoli in the league, and thumped Sampdoria 5-1 in their last away game.
They look set to challenge for a top-six spot now, and a win over Udinese on Sunday could take them up to 11th.
Udinese though have some solid home form – they’ve taken 18 points from 12 home games in Serie A this season, sitting 8th in the home form table. That’s compared to Fiorentina’s away form which has seen them take 15 points from 12 to place them 10th in the away form table.
If Gotti’s side can beat Fiorentina this weekend, it’ll be their first since 2016. They have a notably poor record against the Florence team, having won just one of their 13 meetings, with Fiorentina winning nine of those.
The pair met in Florence back in October and it was settled by a single goal from Nikola Milenkovic, and the last time they met at Udinese finished in a 1-1 draw.
The home side’s best chance of claiming the three points on Sunday lie with Rodrigo De Paul – the 25-year-old has been their brightest player this year with five goals in Serie A, the same amount as striker partner Stefano Okaka, who scored the equalizer in their last league game at Bologna.
For Fiorentina, Iachini will be looking to Federico Chiesa for their goals. The young Italian has three in his last two and six in Serie A so far this season. Patrick Cutrone is yet to kick-on after his loan-move from Wolves, and Christian Kouame remains injured, but 20-year-old Dusan Vlahovic will be looking to continue his breakthrough season.
Both teams risk slipping into a relegation fight if they don’t start to put some wins together. Fiorentina go into the game in the better form of the two, but Udinese have the players and the home advantage. There’s bound to be some goals though, and it should make for an entertaining watch.