Fiorentina Wish For Easier Opponent In Week Three

Having started the season with two defeats, the last thing Fiorentina needed this weekend was a meeting with Juventus. A heart-breaking 4-3 loss to Napoli was followed up with a dire display away to Genoa, but Vincenzo Montella must now prepare his side for a clash against their bitter rivals from Turin.

With the international break giving him two weeks to prepare, the Viola boss could be forgiven for wishing they were facing an easier opponent but the new Fiorentina President insists he is calm about the situation.

“We’ll have to win a game sooner or later,” owner Rocco Commisso told La Gazzetta dello Sport recently. “Now what matters is that the lads work well during the break, in a relaxed atmosphere. Everyone, from Montella to the last of our players. I have to be supportive and not put any pressure on them. I’ll be back for the match against Juve, but if it goes badly then I’ll watch our next few matches on TV!”

The break also saw the end of the transfer window, and Fiorentina were very busy, working the market until the last second to strengthen their squad as much as possible. Montella is expected to keep the 4-3-3 formation he used in the first two games, with many of those new faces – including Martin Caceres, Pedro, and former Leicester City man Rachid Ghezzal – only earning a place among the substitutes.

Franck Ribery is likely to make an appearance from the bench too, meaning the attack will once again feature Kevin-Prince Boateng, Federico Chiesa and Riccardo Sottil. The midfield is filled with the kind of gritty, dynamic players who often cause Juve problems as Milan Badelj will be flanked by impressive youngster Gaetano Castrovilli and set piece specialist Erick Pulgar,

The defence now looks complete, Brazilian left-back Dalbert providing a good balance with Pol Lirola on the opposite flank as German Pezzella and Nikola Milenković marshal the centre of the field. But the latter pair know their hands will be full on Saturday afternoon. Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo have both already been among the goals for the Bianconeri, while Douglas Costa looks reborn under Maurizio Sarri’s more attacking approach.

This match is also expected to see Adrien Rabiot get his first start in Juve colours following his summer move from Paris Saint-Germain, the Frenchman featuring alongside Miralem Pjanić and Sami Khedira in midfield.

Giorgio Chiellini’s absence will be huge for both sides, and his injury might be a major factor in the coming weeks as the Old Lady takes on some difficult opponents. Matthijs de Ligt showcased his huge potential at Ajax, but against Napoli last time out the Netherlands international looked lost as the Partenopei mounted a spectacular comeback.

Without their skipper De Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci will need to be vastly improved in the face of a testing Stadio Artemio Franchi atmosphere, and Fiorentina will certainly look to push Juventus from the opening whistle.

Cagliari Fixture a “Must Win” For Fiorentina

With their chances of securing European qualification via the league looking increasingly unlikely, Fiorentina travel to Cagliari on Friday night desperately needing a win. The Viola currently sit tenth in Serie A, four places and seven points behind the Europa League berths, but a victory in Sardinia might put pressure on those above them.

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Could Fiorentina-Lazio Be A Coppa Italia Final Rehearsal?

Two teams from the Coppa Italia semifinals go head-to-head in what could be an early preview of May’s final, Lazio travelling north to Florence for Sunday night’s encounter with Fiorentina. The visitors arrive in the Renaissance City boosted by their incredible trouncing of neighbours AS Roma in last weekend’s Derby della Capitale, hoping the confidence they take from that will carry over here.

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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.  Continue reading

Can Fiorentina Break Down Stubborn SPAL?

The past few weeks have seen Fiorentina take some huge strides forward, reaching the Coppa Italia semi-finals while also earning an excellent 0-0 draw with Napoli in their most recent Serie A outing. However, such results have been offset by missteps against teams the Viola should be despatching, making Sunday’s encounter with SPAL a game that provides Stefano Pioli’s men with another chance to show they are constantly evolving. Continue reading

Fiorentina Looking To Hurt Napoli Again

The past week has been something of a microcosm of Fiorentina’s 2018/19 campaign, a 7-1 thrashing of AS Roma showing just how dangerous this team could be before a 1-1 draw with Udinese underlined the inconsistency that has plagued them all season. The Viola have another chance against one of Serie A’s top teams this weekend too, hosting a Napoli side who will not need a reminder of their last visit to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.  Continue reading

Federico Chiesa Lights Up Fiorentina

Is the glass half-full or is it half-empty? This is the conundrum facing Fiorentina supporters after a topsy-turvy match away to bottom of the league Chievo Verona on Sunday. The last two matches have served the optimist camp well, the team having earned four points while performances from Luis Muriel and Federico Chiesa gave encouraging signs regarding a previously stuttering attack.

The side also managed to pull off the win with a makeshift backline, the suspension to Cristiano Biraghi and illness to Nikola Milenkovic meaning that the Coach had to go with the inexperienced David Hancko at left-back, while second-choice Vincent Laurini stepped in on the opposite side.

However, the pessimists among us saw six goals conceded in those two matches, and on both occasions the Viola led fairly comfortable leads slip. They also went down to ten men versus Chievo, just as they had done before, and this previous post discusses the ongoing discipline problems up front.

Stefano Pioli had named Christian Norgaard in front of the defence – ignoring the excellent Bryan Dabo once again – a move that would backfire when the Coach was forced to bring off the Danish midfielder at half-time following a poor showing in the first half. He was replaced by the much more capable Gerson, and it once again took a sending off for Dabo to be introduced, leaving many to wonder why the tactician couldn’t just get it right first time.

Yet away from all the positive and negative aspects that this crazy game threw at supporters of the Tuscan club, there was one man whose showing transcended any puzzlement that the team’s performance could yield.

“Chiesa? I like the fans to appreciate the efforts and the quality of my players,” Pioli revealed to ViolaNews in his post-match press conference. Federico makes up part of the soul of this team.”

Those supporters really did enjoy the performance of Chiesa on Sunday, his often frustrating displays left behind him as he took it upon himself to ensure his side got the result. The 21-year-old demonstrated his clear quality as he fired in two of the four goals on the day, and they weren’t mere tap-ins either.

After he had blasted a superb shot onto the crossbar, the young star then latched onto a through-ball from Dabo, firing in beautifully from a very tight angle. His second came as he managed to keep his balance while running at full pace towards the goal, managing his stride in order to fire in an unstoppable shot to complete his brace.

Chiesa’s current form is wonderful to see, especially after all the struggles faced by the Viola attack in recent times. The signing of Muriel seems to have lifted some of the pressure that was placed upon him, in matches where the winger was the only real creative player on the pitch. That only served to exacerbate his tendency for poor decision making, but now that seems to has eased it stands to reason that the forward will now go from strength to strength.

No matter what else is going on at the club, Federico Chiesa’s improvement in itself is a reason to see that the glass is half-full at Fiorentina.

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Can Luis Muriel Help Fiorentina To Victory?

Following last week’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Sampdoria, Fiorentina will be hoping for a much more straightforward encounter with Chievo on Sunday afternoon. The Viola were made to work last weekend, having a man sent off and needing to find an equaliser against the impressive Genoa-based side.  Continue reading

Fiorentina Must Improve On Their Discipline

Fiorentina and Sampdoria provided neutral supporters with an enthralling match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday. The lead had changed hands several times before the final whistle blew, the scores ending up level after Viola Captain German Pezzella fired in a last-minute equaliser. Continue reading