PREVIEW: Fiorentina-Inter is a fixture not to be missed

A game not to be missed on Sunday as Inter visit the Stadio Artemio Franchi for the latest meeting with Fiorentina, a side who have repeatedly caused problems for the Nerazzurri in recent seasons. Indeed, La Viola have won three of their last six – and two of the last three – home games against the Milanese giants, a record they will be looking to extend this weekend.

Antonio Conte’s men will arrive in Tuscany hoping to maintain their position at the top of the table, but it remains to be seen how they will be affected by their midweek elimination from the Champions League. Now, with Serie A as their only focus, it will be up to the former Juve boss to galvanise his squad and maintain their excellent start to 2019/20.

He will be forced to do so without a number of key players, with as many as five first team regulars expected to miss this fixture. Antonio Candreva and Roberto Gagliardini face late fitness tests, adding to Conte’s selection problem in a midfield that has already seen Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella ruled out until the new year.

Alexis Sanchez is also sidelined, while Inter will also be wary that Milan Skriniar, Lautaro Martinez and Danilo D’Ambrosio are only one yellow card away from a suspension. That could be potentially damaging in their forthcoming matches, particularly when noting that their last six trips to Florence have seen the two teams share no fewer than 34 bookings.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina are in desperate need of a positive performance as questions surrounding the future of Vincenzo Montella continue to be asked. The Coach is fully aware that he must start to deliver as soon as possible, particularly after hearing owner Rocco Commisso speak at the club’s Christmas dinner earlier this week.

“I trust, and I have trusted, everyone, we will continue our journey and we need to win,” the President told Tuttomercatoweb. “Let’s take one day at a time. I didn’t talk to the team on the train, I greeted them and today I didn’t go to the training ground. They know that I didn’t come here to lose, I’ve never lost my whole life. I want to win something. I asked for time. It is up to us to bring the results.”

There has been some good news for Montella as German Pezzella moves closer to a return, however Franck Ribery needs surgery. Getting his team selection right will be vital, and he is expected to once again use a 3-5-2 formation with Federico Chiesa alongside Dušan Vlahović in attack.

The rest of the starting XI will remain as usual, and much will depend on Erick Pulgar, Milan Badelj and Gaetano Castrovilli, Fiorentina needing their midfield trio to dominate against Inter’s injury-hit unit if they are to have any hope of victory.

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