Where We Are
FIORENTINA (3-2-1, 6th place in Serie A at kick off)
Despite heavy injury blows, freezing and wet conditions, and a field that was nearly unplayable (in the bad sense), Fiorentina managed to emphatically take 3 points in Dnipropetrovsk on Thursday night. The mood in the Viola camp has started to lighten after the heartbreak against Parma with Europa League hopes flying high. Now the challenge is to finish out this heavy stretch of games with something positive in Serie A as well before the international break. A win would place us tied for 4th with Inter, and in striking range of the Champions League places.
Vincenzo Montella will once again have to be inventive with the absences and the short week turnover after the exhausting contest in Ukraine. All the same, much of the personnel news leading up to the game is good: Juan Cuarado, Manuel Pasqual, and Giuseppe Rossi are all said to be fit to start against Lazio, though Rossi may not have 90 minutes in his legs. There is talk of a 4-1-4-1 / 4-3-2-1 formation, similar to the one Montella opted to use in this fixture last season, a 0-2 win for Fiorentina with Stevan Jovetic scoring my favorite goal of last season. Rumors also abound that the out-of-sorts David Pizarro (who is also one yellow away from suspension, along with Gonzalo Rodriguez) may be left out in favor of the sterling form of Massimo Ambrosini. Joaquin is the current favorite to pair Rossi in attack.
Where They Are
Lazio (3-1-2, 6th place in Serie A at kick off)
Lazio have had an uncertain beginning to their campaign, generally taking care of business against smaller clubs but stumbling against Juventus and Roma. Their last Serie A match broke the trend in a disappointing fashion for fans of the biancocelesti, with a 2-2 draw at home to lowly Sassuolo.
The Vladimir Petkovic side, while playing at home, suffers from some of the same disadvantages that Fiorentina carry into this game. Firstly Lazio are also returning from a difficult road Europa League match, having drawn Trabzonspor 3-3 in Turkey (a late Sergio Floccari double saved the Roman club from what seemed a certain defeat). Secondly, Lazio have their own glaring injury absences, with Biava, Radu, Konko, and most notably Miroslav Klose all unavailable for the contest. Lazio clearly remain a threat however, with possibly the most in-form keeper in Serie A, the surging runs of Antonio Candreva, and Hernanes in midfield.
Not much more to say about this one, other than to note that this is a tough and very unpredictable fixture between two tired teams. Let's just trust in Bomber Gonzalo (don't get suspended before Juventus please) and hope for a bit of magic from from our ragazzi. FORZA VIOLA!
Lazio (4-1-4-1): Marchetti; Cavanda, Ciani, Dias, Lulic; Ledesma; Candreva, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Ederson; Floccari
Fiorentina (4-3-2-1): Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Savic, Pasqual; Aquilani, Ambrosini, Borja Valero; Cuadrado, Joaquin; Rossi