There were not quite fireworks in the last week on the transfer market, which saw the minnows complete a fully of moves to try to bolster their squads. After selling Krzysztof Piatek, Genoa were one of the most active one, as they added Chievo centre-piece Ivan Radovanovic and Lukas Lerager from Bordeaux to revamp their midfield and Andràs Schafer to have one more alternative on the flanks. The first two could be regular starters, especially because Sandro was sent to Udinese. Boca Juniors long chased Atalanta’s José-Luis Palomino, but they had to settle for Lisandro Lopez. Continue reading
An easy choice for best team of the round in this case as Fiorentina pummelled Chievo at home in the first game of their season, finishing with the overly large result of 6-1.
Stefano Pioli will be without his staple Jordan Veretout for a couple of games because of a suspension and picked the newcomers Edimilson and Gerson to complete the midfield, alongside Marco Benassi. The Frenchman is rumoured to be tabbed as deep-lying playmaker this year, basically replacing Milan Badelj, and Gerson certainly staked his claim to continue starting in this one. Valentin Eysseric played as left winger over Marko Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas because they have some conditioning issues. Continue reading
Let’s take a look at the most interesting games of the conclusive round.
Cagliari-Atalanta: the Sardinians are one point above Spal and Crotone and would be safe with a win, however Orobici are on the hunt for points that could allow them to leapfrog Milan and avoid the long Europa League playoff next summer. After some disappointing performances, Cagliari came to life in Florence with a key victory. The Goddess have not lost in their last seven matches. Continue reading
Fiorentina continued their hunt for a place in the Europa League with a hard-earned and frenetic 3-2 away win over Genoa on Sunday afternoon. Just under 1,000 Viola supporters packed in the away section in the top tier of the side stand inside the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, and the squad celebrated the victory together with them at the end of the match.
It had been a relatively uneventful first half, Fiorentina dominating the play and finally taking the lead through midfielder Marco Benassi. Yet the curse of the ex would rear its head once again when former Viola striker Giuseppe Rossi levelled the scores on 64 minutes.
There were a pair of crackers in the midweek round and certainly the clutch comeback by Napoli against Udinese would have been a worthy choice, but the nod has to go to Fiorentina-Lazio, which was simply bonkers.
The Viola approached the game riding an eight-game undefeated streak, while their series of victories was snapped by a nil-nil with Spal in the weekend. The Biancocelesti collected a scoreless draw in the derby and had won the previous two games, against Udinese and Benevento.
Two teams won both of their matches last week: Fiorentina and Torino. They both had signature wins, one against Roma, the other with Inter. However, it’s the Viola that get the weekly award as they kept a clean sheet in both occasions, therefore augmenting their fantasy haul.
Stefano Pioli’s side exploited Udinese’s struggles on Tuesday: the home team tried to put up a fight, but they looked toothless. Fiorentina capitalized first with Jordan Veretout on a penalty, drawn by Federico Chiesa, which was not a given since opponents had missed four in a row against the Bianconeri. Giovanni Simeone sealed the deal in the second half with a scrappy goal, where he bounced off a pair of opponents but still managed to find the back of the net.
Fiorentina were expected to struggle at the beginning of the season: they have lost a lot of talent in the summer and the starting XI is basically brand new. During the last transfer market window, they have sold Federico Bernardeschi, Nikola Kalinic, Matias Vecino, Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Josip Ilicic and Ciprian Tatarusanu and replacing them right away is challenging. Yet, it was fair to expect a little more from the Viola after a few games of gelling.
They never had a chance against Inter, when the squad was still incomplete, and the loss to Sampdoria in the second match day already raised some eyebrows. Then they went on to win two games in a row against Hellas Verona and Bologna, but fell back to bad habits in the following three, where they were defeated by Juventus and Chievo Verona and dropped points to Atalanta at home. They let the opponents come back in the last two outings and the result against the Flying Donkeys is worrisome: a team that aims at a European spot is supposed to take care of those matches, especially when they score the opening goal.
As a consequence, they already find themselves in a little hole in the standings: they are in 13th position, five points behind Torino and Milan who are tied in sixth place. Sampdoria, Chievo Verona and Atalanta have all collected more points than them. The season is long and there is plenty of time to recover: the really concerning aspect is that they do not have a clear identity yet and it is ùhard to pinpoint what they are good at. It is not certainly defending, as they have already conceded ten goals and looked very shaky.
German Pezzella has been solid and Davide Astori is okay, but the backline as a whole has looked porous. Out of the four fullbacks, only Vincent Laurini can be labelled as decent in the defensive phase, but he still made few blunders in his prolonged time at Empoli, while the other three all have an offense-first mentality. It also does not help that they play with only two midfielders. Stefano Pioli is reportedly working on some changes.
The first step will likely be to move Marco Benassi back a few meters: he does not work as a no.10 and will be more efficient in his natural position in a three-man midfield. At some point, the coach will have to add a centre-back: Vitor Hugo struggled early on, but he was highly touted before joining and they acquired the youngster Nikola Milenkovic as well. Carlos Sanchez and Vincent Laurini also have experience in that position. A 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 would help Bruno Gaspar and Cristiano Biraghi massively, because they are better when attacking and have decent feet.
The main problem is that moving away from 4-2-3-1 would impact their depth as the roster was assembled for that tactic. Benassi was a placeholder until Riccardo Saponara returned and Cyril Thereau, Valentin Eysseric and Gil Dias would have to share minutes in a formation with one less attacker, where Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone would obviously be heavily featured. The youngsters Simone Lo Faso, Rafik Zechnini and Ianis Hagi, who could maybe find some playing time down the line, would have very limited chances. It would not be a zero-sum game, but they need to do something because the direction they were built for is not working that well.
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