PREVIEW: Fiorentina-Sampdoria


Serie A Match Day 20


After a much-needed Coppa Italia win over Torino, Fiorentina will hope to carry the momentum of that victory in Sunday’s Serie A meeting with Sampdoria. Sitting three points ahead of La Viola, the visitors will arrive at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after two consecutive losses that leave them in search of a positive result of their own. 

Samp had previously not been beaten since November 11, but were soundly outplayed by Juventus on Boxing Day and then collapsed in extra time after holding AC Milan 0-0 for 90 minutes last weekend. That saw Marco Giampaolo’s men eliminated from the cup and, after only drawing the home clash against Fiorentina, they will need to play much better if they are to prevent their hosts from drawing level with them in the table.

They will arrive in Tuscany with Karol Linetty as their only injured player and could well hand Manolo Gabbiadini a second debut for the club after he returned from a spell in the Premier League with Southampton. Sampdoria will also benefit from the return of Joachim Andersen, the central defender – who has been linked with Tottenham and Manchester United this month – now having served his suspension and free to return to the starting XI here.

For Fiorentina there have been reinforcements in attack too, the positive Luis Muriel bringing a constant goal threat and a direct approach that the side was previously lacking. His presence already seems to have had an effect as, after dropping to the bench to make space for the Colombian international against Torino, Giovanni Simeone looked far more determined to make a difference when he was introduced.

Muriel will provide a solid alternative to the Argentina striker, but Pioli insists they can play together too and that is expected to be the case on Sunday afternoon. Federico Chiesa – who scored two goals in a game for the first time in his career last weekend – is expected to round out the attacking trio.

The Viola have a fully fit squad to select from and that bodes well as they continue their push up the table in search of a Europa League berth in the weeks ahead.

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Alban Lafont; Nikola Milenkovic, German Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Cristiano Biraghi; Marco Benassi, Jordan Vertetout, Edimilson Fernandes; Federico Chiesa, Giovanni Simeone, Luis Muriel

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Emil Audero; Bartosz Bereszynski, Joachim Andersen, Lorenzo Tonelli, Nicola Murru; Dennis Praet, Jakub Jankto, Albin Ekdal; Gaston Ramirez; Fabio Quagliarella, Gianluca Caprari

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