Match Preview: Fiorentina vs. Chievo

Photo - Claudio Villa

Fiorentina look to advance to the Coppa Italia quarterfinals at home against the Flying Donkeys.

Where We Are

Despite managing a solid 1-0 win to begin 2014, Fiorentina had to endure the soul-crushing loss of Giuseppe Rossi to a knee injury this past weekend against Livorno. Now Vincenzo Montella and company must do without the Serie A capocannoniere for anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 months, pending results of tests in Colorado this week.

Rossi may have never played against Chievo Verona in the first Coppa Italia commitment of the year, but the injury now adds to an already-steep pile of absences. Juan Cuadrado and Alberto Aquilani have suspensions to serve from last year's last-minute elimination at the hands of Roma, and Mario Gomez remains on the road to recovery (although he could potentially make it to the bench against Torino this weekend). Golden opportunities, then, for Fiorentina's golden youth, with Rafal Wolski and Matos Ryder set to start in a projected 4-3-2-1. No rest is anticipated for Borja Valero, with his experience and creative savvy needed to unpick what will almost definitely be a heavily defensive Chievo game plan. Marvin Compper and Matias Fernandez are also expected to slot into the lineup.

Where They Are

Chievo Verona remain among the stragglers in Serie A since we faced them in October, although a good spell of form emerged after instating Eugenio Corini and winning the derby of Verona. That form faded emphatically losing 4-1 in Torino and then last weekend playing their part in possibly the worst Serie A game of the season, a dire 0-0 hosting Cagliari.

Corini's lineup remains a bit of a mystery ahead of the match, although the coach has promised to "honor" the competition and select a strong side for tonight's contest in Florence. Expect a heavily defensive 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, with the wingbacks functioning as extra defenders without the ball.

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Fiorentina and their fans count the Coppa Italia as one of their objectives this season after frustration in last year's exit, a long spell without a major trophy, and a soft calendar (Juventus, Roma, and Napoli are all on the other side of the bracket, with one of the Milan clubs a likely draw in the semifinals). We'll miss Cuadrado, who was the key in unpicking Chievo away earlier this season, but Fiorentina should still have enough quality to win this game at home and continue the fan optimism toward our chances in all competitions so far this season, despite the (temporary) loss of our beloved fenomeno. Forza viola!!

Projected Lineups

FIORENTINA (4-3-2-1) Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Compper, Vargas; M. Fernandez, Ambrosini, Borja Valero; Wolski, Joaquin; Matos

Chievo Verona  (3-5-2) Puggioni; Frey, Dainelli, Cesar; Sardo, Bentivoglio, Radovanovic, Hatemaj, Drame; Thereau, Pellissier

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