Happy Friday to all the Viola fans out there. I must admit to being a little bummed earlier this morning when I saw the CL draw come out. Bayern drew Manchester United, and I couldn't help but think to what could have been. Frankly, that should have been us, and it would have been a fantastic thing for the Viola players and fans to have an opportunity to enjoy something like that. But, life goes on and ther is another massive match looming tomorrow (I'm going to be saying this before every single one left this season) for Fiorentina, as fellow European competition contenders Genoa come to the Franchi for the early Saturday match.
A look at the table shows that Genoa are sitting in 7th, and a victory tomorrow (by 2 goals) could see us leap over them in the standings. Genoa has been very poor on the road this season, with 2 wins, 3 draws, 8 losses and a -14 goal difference. Of course, Fiorentina's home form in the league has been much less strong this season than in recent seasons. This will be a hotly contested match and should be a fun one to watch.
For the visitors, Bobby Freshwater is not going to be fit, and former Viola captain Dario Dainelli will also miss out. Part of me is disappointed because it would be nice to hear Dainelli get a warm reception at the Franchi, but the fact that he's out will probably make it easier for the Gila Monster to get on the score sheet. Fortunately, mercenary Crespo has moved on to Parma.
For Fiorentina, Gamberini is still recovering, and Felipe misses on account of too many yellow cards. This leaves us with the vaunted Kroldrup-Natlai central defensive partnership. Mutu's still suspended, and it looks like neither Vargas nor Marchionni will be ready until the middle of next week. So, Prandelli will be without his usual options on the wings and in the center of defense.
I just verified this, and, gulp, Fiorentina haven't kept an opponent off of the board since December 6 against Atalanta. This is obviously a problem and a big reason why the team is not in the position in the Serie A table they'd like to be in. However, Geona have conceded 46 goals in the league this season and play an adventureous 3-4-3 formation. I'm thinking this will be a pretty open and entertaining match to watch.
In terms of the formation, I think Prandelli will try and get his width from the fullbacks because the wingers are not healthy. So, I think we'll see LDS on the right and Gobbi on the left. This means that he'll field more of a Christmas Tree formation, with 3 central midfielders to cover for the raiding fullbacks, and Jo-Jo and Santana in support of the Gila Monster. The attacking subs would be Ljajic and Babacar, who may have leaped over Kerrison with his performance last week. And, let's just go ahead and start praying now that no central defensive subs are needed, because then we're looking at Donadel or Comotto playing CB. That's not good.
Basically, there are going to be goals out there tomorrow. Its up to Jo-Jo and Gila to finish them off, because lord knows Santana won't.
Lineups, aka Blind Guess Dept.
Fiorentina: 4-2-3-1: Bassy; LDS, Natali, Kroldrup, Gobbi; Zanetti, Donadel, RickyMonty; Santana, Jo-Jo; Gila Monster.
Genoa: 3-4-3: Amelia; Papasthatopoulos, Moretti, Bochetti; Mesto, Milanetto, Zapater, Criscito; Palacio, Sculli, Palladino
Match kicks off at 1 pm EST due to the fact that the Italians didn't change their clocks yet (I'm still salty about the lost hour of sleep). It will air on FSP if you have it and RAI. I'm hoping to catch some of it but I have a lot that I need to do tomorrow so I might have to check the comments for updates.
3-1 for the good guys. 2 more for Gila and 1 for Jo-Jo. Just like last week. Viola leap over Genoa in the standings.
The other teams to root for this week include Inter to get a result at Palermo, ACDB to beat Napoli at the San Siro and root for a draw between Samp and Juve in Genoa.