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

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 25

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Milan-Empoli: the Rossoneri are coming off a humungous win over Atalanta, the second in a row after they had disposed of Cagliari and they have not lost since in 2019, maintaining a slim advantage over Roma in the Champions League race. The Azzurri snapped an eight-game famine on Sunday, where they had picked up only two points and lost seven times. The Devil will not have Suso due to a suspension, which opens up minutes for either Samu Castillejo or Fabio Borini. Needless to say, Krzysztof Piatek continues to be amazing and his clutchness is remarkable because he does not get as many feeds as other top Serie A strikers. Hakan Calhanoglu finally bagged one last week and they will rely more on their playmaking with Suso on the stands. 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

Serie A Game of the Week – Fiorentina vs Napoli

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This round was a little light in terms of big matches, but the most anticipated one, Fiorentina-Napoli, delivered from an entertainment standpoint even though it ended with no goals.

The Viola came into the game having tied in three of the previous four games and looking for a big result that could boost them in the Europa League race, while the Partenopei squashed Sampdoria last week, but had dropped points in the two previous road fixtures against the Milan teams. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 23

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The next Serie A round will start very early, on Thursday, and stretch throughout the weekend.

Lazio-Empoli: it was not necessarily pretty, but the Biancocelesti returned to winning ways against Frosinone after three unsatisfactory results and now are in the fifth spot, tied with Roma and Atalanta, one point away from Champions League. The Azzurri came back against Chievo, collecting the second draw in the last three fixtures after a slew of losses, but behind them Bologna have gotten closer. The Biancocelesti are really banged up and, considering the minuscule turnaround, there is growing pessimism about the presence of Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto, who got hurt on Monday. Joaquin Correa should be able to play and in this scenario he and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic become very attractive fantasy assets and Felipe Caicedo could be a cheap plug considering he has scored in the last round. Valon Berisah and Riza Durmisi might be unlikely protagonists.  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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Serie A Team of the Week – Round 21

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Once again lots of goals in the Serie A weekend: here’s the best XI.

David Ospina (7 points): the Colombian goalkeeper drew a surprising start and helped his team with a fantastic save late on a close-range attempt by Mateo Musacchio.

Armando Izzo (9 points): the Torino back-line not only stonewalled Inter, but also two defenders combined for the game-winning goal. Izzo is not much of a goal scorer, he had just four in over 150 appearances, but one header was more than enough to bring home the full spoils on Sunday. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 21

21° GIORNATA CAMPIONATO SERIE A TIM PARMA VS SPAL 27-01-19

Standings implications: Juventus surged past Lazio late and saw their lead swell because Milan and Napoli shared the spoils. The Rossoneri remain fourth due to some ties behind them. Torino torpedoed Inter at home and re-emerged in the Europa League race. It was a Sunday of comebacks, as Atalanta erased a three-nothing lead against Roma and SPAL proceeded to win the game after being down two-nothing in Parma. Fiorentina outlasted Chievo in a rollercoaster of a game. Sampdoria and Sassuolo easily took care of business in the early Saturday matches, smoking Udinese and Cagliari. Frosinone surprisingly pounded Bologna on the road, re-emerging in the relegation race and putting the Felsinei in real trouble. Continue reading

Serie A Game of the Round – Fiorentina vs Sampdoria

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No shortage of candidates this time out, as Roma-Torino was very entertaining and Napoli-Lazio had a very high technical profile, but the shout-out goes to Fiorentina-Sampdoria that was dramatic up until the final whistle.

Fiorentina came into the game having failed to win in the past two fixtures, losing to Parma at home and tying versus Genoa. Sampdoria were beaten by Juventus before the break, ending a positive streak. Stefano Pioli started the newcomer Luis Muriel right away, pairing him with Giovanni Simeone and Federico Chiesa, kept Marco Benassi on the bench to deploy Edimilson Fernandes and Gerson in the midfield. Marco Giampaolo opted for Jakub Jankto, since both Edgar Barreto and Karol Linetty are hurt, then picked Gianluca Caprari and Gaston Ramirez up front. Continue reading

Luis Muriel Could Stop Fiorentina Rot

One win, one loss, one draw. The busy Christmas period was certainly a mixed bag for Fiorentina. It began on December 22 with an excellent 1-0 win over AC Milan at San Siro, a victory that was incredibly their first of the season away from home. The home side may have been suffering from a decimated midfield through a mixture of injury and suspension, but this was a momentous win nonetheless. Continue reading