Fiorentina’s Youngsters Face Tough Inter Test

Having earned another vital win last week, Fiorentina’s young side face a tough test this weekend as they welcome Inter to the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Viola are undefeated since a 1-0 loss against Parma on December 26, recording four draws and four wins – over Torino, Chievo, AS Roma and SPAL – in the eight games since that date. 

With the victory against Roma coming in a sensational 7-1 Coppa Italia quarter-final, Stefano Pioli’s men have proven they can earn important results against Serie A’s biggest clubs, with the Coach pleased with the progress his squad are making. “The lads showed great spirit and we created so many chances today,” he told broadcaster DAZN after beating SPAL last weekend. “There are definite improvements, although I have to allow some errors to young players so they can learn going forward.”

Pioli will go into Sunday night’s encounter without two key players as long term injury absentees Kevin Mirallas and German Pezzella miss out once again, the latter meaning Federico Ceccherini is almost certain to come in at right-back as Nikola Milenkovic moves into the centre of defence. Meanwhile, the loss of the former Everton winger means Giovanni Simeone will likely start in attack, flanked by in-form duo Federico Chiesa and Luis Muriel.

For the visitors, it remains to be seen whether Mauro Icardi will return to the fold, the club announcing this week that the striker had undergone tests on his knee which revealed there was no damage despite his complaints of “inflammation.” In his absence, Inter have been boosted by the form of new arrival Lautaro Martinez after he scored winning goals in victories over Parma and Rapid Wien last week.

“I’m very happy with what I’m experiencing,” the 21-year-old told Sky Italia recently. “I want to go on like this. I haven’t thought about the number of goals I want to score, I’m only thinking about training and giving my best, trying to exploit every game I play.” He will certainly be given chance to do that for the Nerazzurri in Florence while, aside from the on-lona Sime Vrsaljko, boss Luciano Spalletti has no new injury issues to concern him.

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Lafont; Ceccherini, Milenkovic, Vitor Hugo, Biraghi; Edimilson Fernandes, Veretout, Benassi; Chiesa, Muriel, Simone

Inter (4-3-3): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Dalbert; Vecino, Brozovic, Joao Mario; Politano, Lautaro Martinez, Perisic

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