Big games abound this weekend for the top teams in Serie A. Milan host Juve on Saturday night, Roma host Udinese on Sunday, and of course league-leading Inter Milan travel to the Artemio Franchi on Sunday to take on Fiorentina. A quick glance at the table shows massive potential for a shakeup by early Sunday evening. If this were College American Football, the sports media would call it "Showdown Sunday" or something cheezy like that. At any rate, I'm fired up to see how this turns out. Let's look at the good news and the bad news for Fiorentina ahead of the game.
Trouble at the back. Apparently Kroldrup took a bit of a knock during the match away to AEK Athens. This is troubling, mainly because Dainelli and Gamberini have had recent nagging injuries and because Ujfalusi is not quite 100%. Fiorentina may have to field a makeshift backline, which is enough to make any coach lose sleep when facing the team leading Serie A in goals scored (also they have the fewest goals conceded). Plus they have this guy Zlatan Ibrahimovic up top.
No Montolivo. He's out on account of a card suspension. While his at-times lackadaisical play has been frustrating in recent weeks, his passing will certainly be missed. In all likelihood it will be up to Liverani to play some precise long balls and Kuzmanovic to build upon his recent strong performances to help create chances in the middle of the field.
Prandelli will be back. Obviously he will have a heavy heart due to Manuela's recent passing, but having him on the sidelines will undoubtedly be a boost to the squad.
Mutu's playing. He's been the best player on the team thus far this season and he will have to be the major creative force on Sunday for Fiorentina. He will be fired up to prove his value against the team that first brought him to Italy.
If we go based on form - this game will be a draw. So far, Fiorentina have played 3 "big" teams this season (sorry Udinese - they jury is still out on you guys) and drawn all three times. Away to Milan 1-1, home to Roma 2-2 and home to Juventus 1-1. One thing that I feel confident in saying is that the Viola will need more than 1 goal if they want to pull this one out.
I can't start a Fiorentina blog and not make a "homer" prediction. I'll go with 2-1 to the Viola. Goals from Mutu and Pazzini, and several spectacular saves from Frey. I get a feeling that Inter's goal will come from Cambiasso.
Fox Soccer Channel live Sunday at 9 am Eastern time.