Serie A Match of the Round – Fiorentina vs Inter

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The most anticipated game in a pretty weak round turned out to be the most dramatic, even excessively so. Fiorentina came into the fixture having won just two of their last six matches, but never losing in that stretch, while Inter were coming off two wins in a row, which allowed them to get out of sticky patch.

Looking ahead at the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday, Stefano Pioli initially rested both Nikola Milenkovic, who was also a little under the weather, and especially Luis Muriel, trotting out both Vincent Laurini and Federico Ceccherini in the back and Giovanni Simeone up front. Continue reading

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

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

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

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 22

ACF Fiorentina v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

Samir Handanovic: Inter are going through a pretty rough stretch offensively, but their defence has for the most part held up and they have not conceded a single goal in their last seven home fixtures. Bologna have been poor offensively thus far, however there is an element of unknown after the coaching change.

Joao Cancelo: he is coming off a phenomenal display in Rome, where he was deployed as right winger. While that he is unlikely to happen again, he has been a weapon also in his usual position and Juventus have the sturdiest back-line in the League, so one of their defenders can still be picked even despite Parma road prowess. He will be eager to redeem himself after a rare dud.  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 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

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