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Jul 15, 2020 at 8.45pm UK

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Preview: Udinese vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Lazio, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two sides looking to bounce back from respective defeats at the weekend will lock horns in Serie A on Wednesday as Udinese play host to Lazio at the Stadio Friuli.

Udinese suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Sampdoria last time out, whereas Lazio's title charge was dealt another huge blow as they fell victim to a late Francesco Caputo winner during a painful 2-1 loss to Sassuolo.

Match preview

Udinese's three-game winning run in the Italian top flight came to an abrupt end as Sampdoria cruised to victory over Luca Gotti's men in gameweek 32.

Le Zebrette had enjoyed impressive victories over Roma and SPAL either side of a 2-2 draw with Genoa prior to the weekend, but the defeat to Sampdoria means that Udinese are not out of the woods just yet as they sit six points above the relegation zone.

The clash with Lazio represents the first of three challenging fixtures for Udinese in the top flight, with Gotti's side tasked with taking on Napoli and Juventus after the meeting with I Biancocelesti.

For a side that enjoyed consistent top-five finishes between 2011 and 2013, the last few campaigns have been extremely disappointing from Udinese's perspective, and Le Zebrette are still searching for their first home victory since January.

With just six games left to play in the 2019-20 campaign, it is imperative that Udinese try to amass as many points as possible in the coming weeks, although they should feel optimistic going into Wednesday's clash given Lazio's recent run of form.

Lazio are running out of time to dethrone Juventus as Serie A champions, and Simone Inzaghi's men have been a shadow of their former selves since the top flight returned to action.

I Biancocelesti have now suffered defeat in their last three league games - a statistic that is only shared by basement side SPAL - and Juventus have a comfortable eight-point lead atop the rankings despite their recent struggles as well.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for Lazio's sudden decline in form - whether it is the hectic fixture schedule taking its toll or the mounting pressure on Inzaghi's men to usurp Juventus - I Biancocelesti have simply fallen to pieces over the past couple of weeks.

Should Lazio fail to pick up all three points against Udinese on Wednesday evening, the title race could already be well and truly over by the time Inzaghi's side make the trip to Turin to lock horns with Juventus at the weekend.

However, Lazio have enjoyed 10 victories in their last 11 meetings with Udinese across all competitions, and Le Zebrette have only netted three times against Lazio in Serie A since 2015.

Udinese Serie A form: LLWDWL

Lazio Serie A form: LWWLLL

Team News

Rolando Mandragora and Sebastian Prodl are Udinese's only injury concerns at the minute, but other than that Gotti has a full selection of players at his disposal.

Seko Fofana and Stefano Okaka are both in line to return to the starting XI for the midweek clash, and there could be some changes in defence with Rodrigo Becao hopeful of a recall.

Lazio's Patric will serve the second of his three-game ban for biting, while Senad Lulic, Adam Marusic and Joaquin Correa remain on the treatment table.

Jordan Lukaku made his first league start of the season against Sassuolo but only lasted 45 minutes of that fixture, and Lucas Leiva will be hoping to return to the Lazio midfield.

Ciro Immobile still leads the way in the race for the Capocannoniere with 29 strikes this term, but the Italian has failed to continue his prolific form from earlier in the campaign and Cristiano Ronaldo now sits just one goal behind the Lazio frontman.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Troost-Ekong, Becao, Samir; Larsen, Paul, Fofana, Jajalo, Sema; Lasagna, Okaka

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Jony; Immobile, Caicedo

We say: Udinese 1-2 Lazio

Given the respective form of the two sides over the past few weeks, everything points towards an Udinese triumph for Wednesday's fixture. However, we are backing the quality of Lazio's attacking players to pave the way for a narrow victory as they look to build some momentum before the crunch match with Juventus.

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