Fiorentina Looking To Hurt Napoli Again

The past week has been something of a microcosm of Fiorentina’s 2018/19 campaign, a 7-1 thrashing of AS Roma showing just how dangerous this team could be before a 1-1 draw with Udinese underlined the inconsistency that has plagued them all season. The Viola have another chance against one of Serie A’s top teams this weekend too, hosting a Napoli side who will not need a reminder of their last visit to the Stadio Artemio Franchi. 

Indeed, this is the venue where last term’s title challenge fell apart for the Partenopei, losing 3-0 just a week after a win at Juventus Stadium gave them genuine hope of clinching Lo Scudetto. They would crumble that day after an early red card for Kalidou Koulibaly and Fiorentina took full advantage, something Stefano Pioli’s men will certainly be looking to do once again this time around.

Napoli have only one injured player as reserve defender Vlad Chiriches continues to be unavailable, but Fabián Ruiz returns after serving a one-game suspension and is likely to feature in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XI. The experienced Coach was also expected to pair Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne in attack, but more reports believe that Arkadiusz Milik could get the nod over the Belgian forward.

The only absentee will be Marek Hamsik, the midfielder’s move to Chinese Super League outfit put on hold after Napoli claimed irregularities over the payment of the transfer fee. The Slovakian is expected to sit out here as he awaits further developments, meaning Piotr Zieliński and Allan are likely to continue in the centre of the pitch.

For Fiorentina, Pioli’s main task is to unlock the same cohesion, chemistry and confidence that his side displayed against Roma while eradicating the missteps that led to their draw with Udinese last weekend. He must do so without key defender Nikola Milenkovic and midfielder Marco Benassi as the duo serve suspensions for recent indiscipline, another issue that the Coach must quickly look to quash.

Gerson and Vincent Laurini are expected to come into the starting XI to fill in for those two, while Federico Ceccherini is likely to take up the spot in central defence left by an injury to Vitor Hugo. The only other question mark over Pioli’s team selection comes in attack where Giovanni Simeone and Kevin Mirallas will be battling for the last spot alongside in-form pair Federico Chiesa and Luis Muriel.

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Lafont; Laurini, Pezzella, Ceccherini, Biraghi; Gerson, Veretout, Edimilson; Chiesa, Muriel, Mirallas

Napoli (4-4-2): Meret; Maksimovic, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Callejon, Allan, Fabian Rui, Zielinski; Milik, Insigne


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