Two teams in poor form meet this Sunday, neither Torino nor Fiorentina pleased with the start they have made to the 2019/20 season. Both began the campaign with aspirations of returning to European action, but the Granata – who have won just twice since September – sit tenth, just one point and three league places above their next opponents.
Fiorentina have fared just as badly, winless in their last four Serie A outings but they did record a victory in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday evening, grinding out a 2-0 result against Cittadella despite going down to ten men midway through the first half.
Vincenzo Montella rested many of his key players for that clash, but it was arguably his decision to change formation that brings the most hope moving forward, the 4-3-3 he deployed looking much more proactive than the 3-5-2 he has utilised for some time now. In that framework, the Viola are all too often left looking short of ideas and attacking intent, with the Coach delighted at what he saw from his players after their dire form of late.
“It was a difficult match and we started a bit shaky, perhaps because of our poor recent results, then after a goal and at least four scoring opportunities, the red card changed everything,” Montella told RAI Sport. “This just made our desire to win and sacrifice ourselves for the team even clearer. It’s a young team, that is the choice we have made, but often people lack patience.”
It remains to be seen whether Federico Chiesa – who has missed the last three games with a muscle issue – or Franck Ribery will be available for the meeting with Torino. The French winger took a heavy knock to his ankle against Lecce last weekend and will face a late fitness test, while Fiorentina skipper German Pezzella suffered a fractured cheekbone in the same game and has been ruled out for the next three weeks.
If Montella sticks with the 4-3-3, Dušan Vlahović is expected to retain his place as the central striker, but without Chiesa and Ribery it will be difficult to see that system used on Sunday. The alternative is to deploy Federico Ceccherini in the centre of a three-man backline, flanked by Martin Caceres and Nikola Milenkovic.
For the home side, long term injury absentees Iago Falque and Brazilian defender Lyanco will once again be unavailable to Walter Mazzarri, but otherwise the former Watford boss will have a full squad at his disposal.
He will unquestionably set up with the 3-5-2 formation that has always been his preferred system, relying on the attacking prowess of Andrea Belotti and Simone Verdi to lead Torino to victory in a fixture that they have struggled in of late.
Indeed, in the last 20 meetings between these two teams, Fiorentina have lost just twice and scored in nineteen of them, recording 10 wins and eight draws against the Granata.
TORINO (3-5-2): Sirgu; Izzo, Nkoulou, Bremer; De Silvestri, Baselli, Rincon, Lukic, Ansaldi; Verdi, Belotti
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): Dragowski; Milenkovic, Ceccherini, Caceres; Lirola, Pulgar, Badelj, Castrovilli, Dalbert; Chiesa, Vlahovic