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Main » 2013 » March » 9 » Lazio - Fiorentina : Preview

Lazio - Fiorentina : Preview

lacio_fiorentinaChampions League football is on the line when Lazio and Fiorentina meet in Sunday’s late kick-off.

 The battle for third could not be closer - One point separates current occupants Milan with Lazio and Inter, while seventh placed Fiorentina are only four points adrift.

 Lazio had seemed the most likely side to join Juventus and Napoli in the top three, but a run of just one win in seven has seen them fall off the pace.

 Goalkeeper Federico Marchetti has admitted his sides form is concerning, but they are trying to improve.

 "Luck hasn’t been on our side as much recently and we have made some mistakes, but we are working on it."

 Undoubtedly, a contributory factor to the Biancocelesti's recent struggles as been a congested fixture list, with the resumption of the Europa League - a competition Coach Vladimir Petkovic has taken seriously.

 Having seen off Borussia Mönchengladbach in the last round, Lazio were in Germany again on Thursday night, this time defeating VfB Stuttgart, 2-0.

 Despite often fielding his strongest side in the competition, Petkovic made some alterations, with regulars Andre Dias, Giuseppe Biava, Cristian Ledesma, Alvaro Gonzalez, Stefano Mauri and Sergio Floccari named as substitutes.

 They are all expected to return for the visit of Fiorentina. Antonio Candreva is, however, suspended after his dismissal against Milan, while Miroslav Klose, Marius Stankevicius, Cristian Brocchi and Abdoulay Konko are all injured.

 Like Lazio, Fiorentina's recent form has been patchy, with a run of three wins in 10 seeing them drop out of the European places.

 While results at the Artemio Franchi have remained positive, it’s on their travels where La Viola have struggled. They have lost their last four games away from home and have not been victorious since a 3-0 at Palermo, in December.

 They will be hoping to advert that run at Lazio and will take confidence from having already beaten them earlier this season.

 Coach Vincenzo Montella has an almost full strength squad to pick from, with only the suspended Alberto Aquilani missing, alongside long-term absentees Giuseppe Rossi, Ahmed Hegazy and Michele Camporese.

One to watch: Borja Valero (Fiorentina) The Spanish midfielder has undoubtedly been one of the signings of the season. With one goal and nine assists, he has quickly become a vital component in Montella's technical and fluent midfield. Spanish players have often struggled to make an impact in Serie A, but the 27 year-old's form this season has made a mockery of that notion.

Form guide: Lazio (L D L W L) Fiorentina (W L W L W)

Last season: Lazio 1-0 Fiorentina

Stat fact: Fiorentina have not beaten Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico since a 1-0 win in 2007

Lazio (probable): Marchetti; Pereirinha, Biava, Andre Dias, Radu; Gonzalez, Cana, Ledesma, Hernanes, Mauri; Floccari

Fiorentina (probable): Viviano; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Savic, Pasqual; Migliaccio, Pizzaro, Borja Valero; Cuadrado, Jovetic, Ljajic

Better's Prediction: Lazio - Fiorentina : X
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