In a cagey and dour affair in Udine, Fiorentina were able to earn a valuable victory away to Udinese in the sixth round of the 2021/22 Serie A season.
A Dusan Vlahovic penalty – his fourth goal of the league campaign so far – was enough to secure the win for the Gigliati in a match in which chances were at a premium. The victory took Fiorentina up to equal fourth place with Roma in the Serie A table with 12 points while Udinese are joint in 11th with Sassuolo on seven points.
Fiorentina find a way
Fiorentina under Vincenzo Italiano are an attacking team that love to pass the ball around whereas Luca Gotti sets his Udinese team to defend in a low block, defend in numbers, and launch counter-attacks.
Both teams were limited to long-range shots, and even when they got into the penalty area, the shooting was wayward to say the least. The Gigliati were able to control the play, having 55 percent possession to the Zebrette’s 45, but they had fewer shots and corners. The Viola had eight shots with just two on target while the Zebrette had 12 shots with five on target.
Although Fiorentina tried to play their game, Giacomo Bonaventura earning the penalty and then Vlahovic converting the kick proved to be decisive because it was a struggle during the game to produce clear chances in open play.
Italiano’s men got a much-needed win on the road but they’ll need to come up with different ways to break down teams that defend in numbers.
BORING, BORING UDINESE
In the 1990s, Arsenal had a reputation for being one of the least entertaining teams in English football under George Graham, and the Gunners were labelled, “Boring, boring Arsenal.”
These days, the label should be applied to Udinese. When Rodrigo De Paul played for the Zebrette, he was a watchable player and he gave Gotti’s team some much-needed flair.
Now that the Argentinian midfielder has been sold to Atletico Madrid, the burden to create falls on Gerard Deulofeu, and unfortunately, the Spaniard has not done enough to mask the dour approach of his coach. He had the best chance to equalise for the Friulani against Fiorentina but his effort was saved.
Gotti’s tactics are not the only problem though. He has done the best that he can with the resources at his disposal and the real issue is the Pozzo family, who have owned the club since 1986.
When Francesco Guidolin was coach and Antonio Di Natale lead the attack, Udinese would qualify for Europe, only to falter constantly in European competitions. Since those two departed, the Zebrette have survived relegation season after season but they add little to the image of Serie A.
It seems that Udinese will continue to focus on survival but nothing else. Playing entertaining football or punching above their weight like Atalanta or Sassuolo is out of the question for now.