Good evening. I'm sipping on a beer and staring out the window at the massive amounts of snow that fell on Washington DC today. It was pretty incredible, and it'll be a couple more days at least before things get back to normal around here. Good thing is, we've got tomorrow's match to look forward to - the game will be on TeeVee live from 2:45 pm EST. Prandelli has been busy plotting a repeat of last year's destruction, I'm sure.
Tomorrow's match is huge for several reasons. It is something of a six pointer for the Viola, as Roma are one of the teams that will be making a strong push for Europe. Last week's draw meant that the Viola slipped to the bottom half of the table with 17 league matches left to play. However, things aren't quite that bleak, as Fiorentina are only 7 points behind Napoli in 4th place, with a game in hand (of course there are lots of teams in between and that game in hand is against Milan). This is a match against another contender, and it is at home. 3 points are necessary.
For the good guys, Mutu's a clown, Felipe is suspended due to cards, and Zanetti and Kroldrup are not yet fit. Other than that, Prandelli should have plenty to choose from.
For the visitors, Luca Toni is injured, so we'll miss out on the dimension that adds to the match. This is a lucky break. Nicola Burdisso is also out for this one. Other than that, Ex-Viola boss Claudio "Tinkerman" Ranieri should have the rest of the squad ready to go.
Lineups, aka Bind Guess Dept:
Fiorentina: 4-2-3-1: Bassy; Pasqual, Gamberini, Natali, LDS; El Gringo, CaptainRickyMonty; Vargas, Jo-Jo, Marchionni; Gila Monster.
Roma: 4-2-3-1: Julio Sergio; Cassetti, Mexes, Juan, Riise; De Rossi, Pizarro; Taddei, Perrotta, Vucinic; Totti
As mentioned above, game will air live on that RAI and FSC from 2:45 PM EST.
Truth be told, I really haven't seen a ton of Roma this season, and my impression is that they are more disciplined and less free-wheeling under Ranieri than they were under Luciano Spaletti. This theoretically means less space for the Viola to counter-attack into, which is what they did so expertly in thrashing Roma 4-1 last season. Right from the beginning, Vargas stole the ball off some dude in the center circle, took two or three dribbles and lashed the ball into the back of the net with no one in front of them. I'm thinking this may be a bit less likely tomorrow, but we all know what he's capable of if he picks the ball up in those areas.
I'm happy that Toni is out without either Kroldrup or Felipe available, but with Roma's formation, it will be imperative for Fiorentina's central midfielders to make sure to mark tightly and not allow Roma any space to get creative. I also think that Riise will be a target of the Viola's plans - as Marchionni and Jo-Jo can both beat him for pace, so hopefully between his attacking instincts and lack of pace there will be some space over there for those two to take advantage of.
As an aside, here's some fun reading if you need to kill some time before the match. Its a pretty decent list, but I think Di Livio deserves more credit than he's been given. Anyone else you guys would like to see included in there?
I think Fiorentina will get this done tomorrow. I'm going to say 3-1, with Totti for the bad guys, a red card for Mexes, and goals for Vargas, Gila and Jo-Jo.