Few teams had impressive displays in the weekend: Roma, Atalanta, Sampdoria and Crotone all pounded their respective opponents and also had very juicy fantasy hauls, with multiple players either finding the target or assisting. However, the most dominant performance of the round belongs to Fiorentina, which also managed to keep a clean sheet, differently from the other teams.
In the big game against Napoli, Stefano Pioli confirmed the scheme he has been heavily relying to recently: a 4-3-1-2 with Riccardo Saponara in the hole, behind Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone. Vincent Laurini replaced the injured Vitor Hugo, with Nikola Milenkovic moving to centre-back. Milan Badelj returned from a knee sprain and immediately started in lieu of the suspended Bryan Dabo.
After a short feeling-out process, the game immediately turned in Fiorentina’s favour: Kalidou Koulibaly got too nonchalant on a long ball, Giovanni Simeone hustled to reach it and the defender knocked him down. The referee initially whistled a penalty, but the VAR review correctly deemed it a free kick and Koulibaly was sent off because the striker had an open lane to the goal.
Maurizio Sarri opted to take out his mastermind Jorginho to insert Lorenzo Tonelli and proceed with a 4-4-1. Fiorentina obviously pulled the strings thanks to the superiority, especially in the midfield, but it took them a while to crack the diligent Napoli’s back-line. It happened at the 34th minute: Tonelli and Pepe Reina had a miscommunication on a long ball by Cristiano Biraghi, which got to a wide open Simeone who put it through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Napoli had trouble creating any offence for the whole bout and were also understandably nervous. Fiorentina continued to push and sealed the game after an hour, with Simeone pouncing on a loose ball on a corner kick. El Cholito then completed his hat-trick in the stoppage time, again slipping behind the defence and finishing coolly in front of Reina, this time fed by Federico Chiesa.
Fiorentina resumed winning after two losses, to Lazio and Sassuolo, and the draw with Spal. They are now in eight position, alongside Sampdoria, four points behind the sixth-placed Atalanta, three behind Milan.
An interesting loot in the fantasy game: Simeone dominated thanks to his 14 points, Sportiello and Biraghi garnered seven, German Pezzella and Bruno Gaspar five, Vincent Laurini four, most of the midfielders two thanks to the clean sheet, same for Federico Chiesa for the dish.
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