If a good run of form can be referred to as a "purple patch," I am not sure color the Fiorentina Serie A form would be, but it would not match our violet home kit. In fact a milky yellow-grey evoking melancholy and malaria would be a better match, with Fiorentina having won only 2 of their past 5 in the league with few positive performances in the past couple months. There have been flashes and moments, but the team has too often been slow and sloppy. The excuses are, of course, plentiful and valid, but it’s time for the team to start entertaining the fans again, and what better way than a convincing performance against a well-drilled Udinese side who likes to perform well against Fiorentina?
Vincenzo Montella has a reasonably strong roster at his disposal for this match, although he will be missing one of the few players who have been consistently playing well in 2014 - Stefan Savic - due to yellow card accumulation, and will of course be improvising with a forward line devoid of Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi. Based on word from practices, the 4-3-3 is being favored, with Joaquin, Josip Ilicic, Ryder Matos, and Wolski all jockeying for starting roles in the attacking trident, with Alessandro Matri potentially relegated to the bench after recent dismal displays (not featured here: my fervent hope that Matri doesn't play). In midfield, despite some minor injury problems for David Pizarro and Borja Valero, they are both expected to feature from the first minute. Nenad Tomovic is expected to return to right back, while Manuel Pasqual will make his return to the starting lineup with Juan Manuel Vargas still suffering from injury.
As far as Udinese are concerned, coach Francesco Guidolin has a couple key absences to contend with as well, notably striker Antonio Di Natale and midfielder Giampiero Pinzi, but the most important absence may well be in defense for the Friulani, where they will be without veteran Maurizio Domizzi. Chances then for Luis Muriel in attack and 21 year old Croatian talent Igor Bubnjic in defense. Keep an eye on Udinese's in-form Bruno Fernandes and young Italian goalkeeper Simone Scuffet.
3 points could prove crucial in the Serie A standings this season, and Fiorentina shouldn't continue to allow injury setbacks to punish them at home. Udinese are obviously a dangerous side, but a late season tear like that of last season could find lift-off in beating the bianconeri in Florence. Montella will be hopeful that the team will kick-start a bit after their first full week without a competitive match in far too long. FORZA VIOLA AMICI!
FIORENTINA (4-3-3) Neto; Tomovic, Diakite, Gonzalo, Pasqual; Aquilani, Pizarro, Borja Valero; Cuadrado, Matos, Wolski
Udinese (3-5-1-1) Scuffet; Heurtaux, Danilo, Bubnjic; Basta, Badu, Allan, Pereyra, Gabriel Silva; Bruno Fernandes; Muriel