What's happening everyone? My apologies for not getting a Napoli preview up, but my internets were down on Saturday due to some monsoons in DC. I was also behind a little bit due to celebrating my (gulp) 30th birthday. So, let's move on and take a look at what's happening with Fiorentina.
So, for me the key event since the Bayern game were Cesare Prandelli's repeated public comments that he wants to sign a contract extension for another 5 years. I'm obviously in the tank for Prandelli, but that's as strong as it gets to ward off the potentially distracting stories in the Italian press that he's on his way to Turin or that he's next in line to head up the national team. He's certainly a good enough coach to be considered for either of these positions, but club football presents the ability to really bring players along, develop them and work toward long-term goals moreso than international football. And, to be fair, despite the fact that Prandelli spent most of his playing career with Juve, I'm not entirely sure how attractive that job is. Since Prandelli took over at Fiorentina 2005, Juve are on their 6th manager. Part of this is due to the Calciopoli scandal, of course, but I'm not sure you're going to be given enough time to complete a project at Juve, due to the way that club is structured. Prandelli does honestly feel a real attachement to the club and fans at Fiorentina, who have supported him through a difficult time in his personal life. Plus, those assholes in the front office at Juve may not think he's a talented enough coach for that job. They'd be wrong, but their loss.
What a match. After a fairly even first half, the Viola conceded a goal almost immediately upon the restart. But, 2 goals from Gila restored the advantage, and both were well assisted by Jo-Jo. Babacar was very impressive as a substitute, showing great savvy and strength. His staying after a play led directly to the first goal and instead of trying a low percentage shot for the final goal, he played it through for Jo-Jo to run onto and finish off the match and send me running around my apartment singing the Fiorentina song.
And, let me say a few words about the talented Napoli striker Lavezzi. What a waste. I agree with some of the match articles saying he could have earned a penalty when Felipe made a clumsy last-ditch challenge on his breakaway. But, instead of trying to score the goal, he tried to earn the penalty. When presented with the opportunity, he flopped theatrically every time all match long. It was shameful. He could learn something from 16 year old Babacar - sometimes its best to keep playing even if you are knocked off balance - your team might wind up with a goal. He's too good to be trying to pull that crap, but I'm thankful that he hasn't figured that out just yet. Also, he's got lots of stupid tats.
For the most part, the other matches this weekend went the Viola's way, even if we're still sitting 10th. Palermo's still averaging roughly 1.64 ppg, so the magic number is still 63. That means 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in the last 10 if we're trying to finish 4th. However, none of the teams between 4 and 10 in the table are on particularly great form right now so it is still wide open. The next 3 matches are home against Genoa, a 6 pointer again, then at Catania and home against Udinese. If the Viola can take care of business against Genoa at home, the next 2 opponents are not playing well. Saturday's comeback could be the start of a nice little run.
Back with a special post tomorrow. Forza Viola!