The first match of the Beppe Iachini era at Fiorentina did not end well, skipper German Pezzella giving away a senseless free kick on the edge of the box. Bologna equalised directly from the resulting set piece, meaning the Argentina international cost his side two precious points and prevented the new Coach from starting his tenure with a victory.
“We have to give [Riccardo] Orsolini credit for having placing it very well,” Iachini said at a press conference immediately after the match. “But we have to be more careful and not concede that free-kick. It was the only situation which could be dangerous, since we gave very little space to a team that usually create a lot of chances.”
That is undoubtedly true, but Iachini then went on to add that “if we had been more careful, we would have brought the win home.” Ultimately, that is the truth and the Viola need to ensure they heed that warning as they welcome a struggling SPAL to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday afternoon.
The Ferrara-based side have just one win in their last 11 Serie A matches and arrive in Florence having suffered a 2-0 loss at home against Hellas Verona. They sit rock bottom of the table, thanks in no small part to their anaemic attack which has scored just 12 times this season, fewer than any other team in the division.
“At the moment, we are struggling to get the ball in the net and need to work on many areas,” SPAL Coach Leonardo Semplici told reporters after the defeat against Hellas. “The fact remains, we are in the relegation zone, we have nothing to lose and have to go all out from now on.
“It’s an important match in my home town,” he said of the forthcoming clash with Fiorentina, “so I hope it can go the same way it did when we beat Torino, with a strong response.”
They will certainly need to be at their best, and need no reminder of their struggles against La Viola in recent clashes. Last term, even with as they finished 13th – three places above a woeful Fiorentina – SPAL were beaten 3-0 in Florence and 4-1 at home, a record Semplici must hope to address this weekend.
He will be forced to do so without a trio of injured players as defender Arkadiusz Reca joins long term absentees Marco D’Alessandro and Mohamed Fares. That will force the Coach into some tough decisions in defence, choices made even more difficult by former Fiorentina stopper Nenad Tomovic collecting a senseless red card against Hellas last weekend.
That means the Serbian will serve a one-match ban, and the Viola must capitalise on SPAL’s selection issues, particularly as Iachini has no fresh concerns of his own to contend with. Franck Ribery remains sidelined after surgery, but the only change for Fiorentina from last weekend is in midfield where Milan Badelj is expected to replace Marco Benassi.
Fiorentina (3-5-2): Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Caceres; Lirola, Pulgar, Badelj, Castrovilli, Dalbert; Chiesa, Vlahovic
SPAL (3-5-2): Berisha; Felipe, Vicari, Igor; Cionek, Valotti, Missiroli, Kurtic, Strefezza; Di Francesco, Petagna