Fiorentina fire Iachini and bring back Prandelli

Seven rounds into the season, Serie A has its first coaching change as Fiorentina announced on Monday the sacking of Giuseppe Iachini and the return of Cesare Prandelli. The Viola have obtained just two wins so far, versus Torino and Udinese, drew with Spezia and lastly Parma and lost to Inter, Sampdoria and Roma. They sit in 12th position, five points away from the Europa League zone.

Iachini was initially hired as a caretaker manager last December after Vincenzo Montella was dismissed: he led the team to a tenth-placed finish, tallying eight wins, eight ties and five defeats, which proved to be enough for him to be confirmed on the bench for the following season. Since the squad did not show tangible signs of improvements and often looked stuck in the mud, the management opted to move on and reunited with a familiar face.

Prandelli managed the Gigliati from five years between 2005 and 2010, in which he managed to qualify to Champions League twice and once reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals. He was then poached by the Italian national team, but his two-year stint ended with an elimination in the group stage in the 2012 World Cup.

He mostly coached abroad following the flop: he had a cup of coffee with Galatasaray in 2014 and an even shorter stay at Valencia in 2016. He helmed Al-Nasr for 12 games in 2017/2018 before heading back to the Peninsula in December, taking over Genoa after the axing of Milan Juric and managing to avoid relegation by the skin of his teeth, but he was not retained.

Fiorentina so far have struggled to put together a credible offense, despite the presence of some talented players on the roster. Iachini has always stuck with 3-5-2 that saw Franck Ribery play as second-striker alongside one among Christian Kouame, Dusan Vlahovic and Patrick Cutrone and the constant rotation has not helped any of the three young forwards. Prandelli has used the same tactic in the past, especially with the Grifone, but has mostly utilized 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 throughout his career. Thanks to the late addition of José Callejon and the versatility of Gaetano Castrovilli, Giacomo Bonaventura and Kouame, Fiorentina have the flexibility to move to a more aggressive scheme. Castrovilli and Cristiano Biraghi have been their most consistent contributors so far and, in the fantasy game, their players should benefit from a switch to a more proactive brand of football.

Prandelli, who was reportedly one of the few candidates to accept season-long contract, will be assisted by his usual right-hand man Gabriele Pin, by athletic trainer Valter Vio and the match analyst Marco Fumagalli, while the long-tenured goalkeeping coach Rosalen Lopez will stay on.

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