Both Fiorentina and Udinese have had disappointing seasons. The viola expected to challenge for a Champions League spot, but that dream is definitely gone, thanks to two months of rather poor football, with just two wins in in their last eight games.. Udinese, after years of finishing in the European places, have been a mediocre, unexciting team this season. They may be unbeaten in their last three, but even one of their typical late runs won't lift the zebrette into Europe.
After a season full of heartbreaking injuries, Fiorentina fans will at least be relieved to hear that the knock Borja Valero took in training isn't serious, and the midfield commander will be set to start. Gonzalo Rodríguez is back from suspension, and his experience and quality will be crucial in dealing with quick and technical Udinese players, who are extremely dangerous if given any space. The Argentine should help provide cover in defense, particularly with Stefan Savić out and Modibo Diakité needing to step in once more.
Fortunately, the frail viola defense won't have to cope with Antonio Di Natale, as the Udinese captain is out injured. Luis Muriel hasn't quite lived up to his hype but, together with Bruno Fernandes, make Udinese extremely dangerous on the break. Vincenzo Montella would be wise to tell his side to reduce the spaces between the defense and the midfield if they are to deal well with Udinese's attacking duo.
Udinese's other strength is in their wide play, perhaps the only element of the side that's been consistent through the entire season. Without Juan Vargas and a fully-fit Manuel Pasqual, it will be difficult for Fiorentina to contain Dušan Basta and Gabriel Silva, and Francesco Guidolin will certainly expect his players to exploit that weakness.
Udinese won the reverse fixture 1-0, thanks to a goal from Thomas Heurtaux followed by plenty of dogged defending. But Fiorentina fans - who've seen just one win at the Artemio Franchi in the last two months - might be consoled by the fact that the zebrette haven't won in Florence in six years.
Fiorentina injuries and suspensions
Udinese injuries and suspensions
Projected line ups
Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
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