Bianconeri Bastards come to the Franchi

What's happening? Hopefully you've had a week that was restful at the beginning, with no midweek distractions and one that has allowed you to prepare for a huge Saturday. My own personal week has been nothing like the above, but that does sound like a good description of the week that Fiorentina had ahead of tomorrow evening's massive match against that detestable team from Torino.

This week saw the Viola take a couple of days off after the draw against Lazio to rest up. The squad continued its media blackout, so we didn't hear a whole hell of a lot coming out of the Viola camp. No one got injured in any interntaional friendlies and we actually went through the middle of a week without being completely jobbed by the referees.

There were, however, 2 main tidbits. The first was that Gobbi got a 3 match ban for his red card against Bayern. This is almost worse than the fact that he received the card in the first place. Basically, he got bounced for the last 20 minutes of the match in Munich and then the next 3 matches because he bumped into that punk Robben, who made a meal of it and then grabbed his face. Unreal. More below, but it looks like Prandelli will have to switch his pattern up and use Gobbi primarily in the league matches and then Pasqual in the CL matches. This should be ok Saturday but it is a problem against Bayern because Gobbi is the superior athlete and we all know what type of threats Bayern have on the wings.

The other bit of "news" is the speculation surrounding the length of Mutu's ban. At this point, we should just go ahead and forget about any contributions from him for the remainder of this season. Even if he does come back in a few weeks, he won't be fit and we'll just have to worry about his future with the squad after this season is finished.

Table Update

Last weekend's results saw no change to the fact that 63 still appears to be the hypothetical magic number to finish in 4th place. The Viola are sitting on 35 points, which means that we'll need to get 28 of the final 36 available in order to achieve that goal. This means 9 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. Gulp. Obviously, tomorrow's match is the English Pundit cliche "6 pointer" because it is a chance to make up ground on a hated rival who is above us in the standings.

Other teams to root for this weekend include Bologna who are home against Napoli, and road teams Catania, Livorno and Lazio. Roma play ACDB, but really, we ain't catching either of those teams so I hope they both lose.

Also, this week is crazy. Juve at home tomorrow, Bayern at home Tuesday, and then at Napoli next Saturday. Good thing the boys got some rest.

Team News

Here's the squad Prandelli called:

Keepers: Bassy and Avramov
Defenders: Comotto, LDS, Felipe, Gobbi, Kroldrup, Natali, Pasqual
MF: Bolatti, Donadel, Ljajic, Marchionni, Monty, Santana, Vargas, Zanetti
F: Gila, Jo-Jo, Keirrison, Babacar

Like I said above, I think we'll see Gobbi from the start tomorrow, Zanetti appears to be 100% and its good to see Vargas back even if he might not have 90 minutes in him.

The visitors will be without several of their top 11 players, including their currently overrated and rarely healthy goalkeeper, the guy who isn't good enough to play striker for either Italy or Brazil even though we had to read too many stories about it, the pipsqueak prodigy, the guy who doesn't know the Italian national anthem and the Uruguyan CB/RB/guy who can't keep his head when playing WC qualifiers against Argentina. But don't worry, they'll still find 11 loathsome punks to put those jailhouse uniforms on tomorrow.

Lineups, aka Blind Guess Dept.

Fiorentina: 4-2-3-1: Bassy; Comotto, Felipe, Kroldrup, Pasqual; Zanetti, RickyMonty; Marchionni, Jo-Jo, Vargas; Gila Monster.

Juve: 4-3-1-2: Not Gigi; 4 punks, 1 with excessively large nose; A gangly Malian who cannot pass, Thanks for the transfer funds, the one good player on the team; A Brazilian who hasn't settled in probably because his teammates are too lousy to get him the ball in good areas; And, the over the hill gang up top.

Match Thoughts:

I think the Viola can create changes here, the trouble will be finishing them off as this has been a problem of late. Juventus are not particularly scary going forward, but without Donadel in the first 11 it will mean that RickyMonty and Zanetti will have to work hard to close down Diego. Aside from that, it will be smart not to concede too many set pieces because Juve have some tall players (Melo, Chiellini) who are good in the air and without Natali the Viola don't have many players who stand out in that area.

The key to this game, for the Viola, will be the 5 midfielders creating chances that Gila can finish. If that can be done, I think the 3 points are there for the taking. With that midfield, there are 5 guys who can set up a goal out there, let's just hope Gila has a good day finishing them off.

TeeVee:

I'll update more, but the match begins at high noon tomorrow. Its on RAI and something called Fox Sports Plus, which I believe is FSC in that high def. I have no idea if I have this channel or not, but I will end my cable company if I gotta watch this on a pirated stream. But, as usual, we'll exchange those.

Prediction Time:

A motivated and rested Viola squad hammers the visitors, not dissimilar from what happened to Roma last year. 4-1. 2 from Gila, 1 from Jo-Jo and another from Keirrison. Juve gets a late consoloation from Old Man Trezeguet.

Forza Viola!

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