For those of you who are unfamiliar with the title, this video clip should help explain things a bit. At this point, with two Serie A games remaining before the Christmas break, Fiorentina are in trouble. While they are still in 5th place, late goals by Nedved and Quagliarella meant that the gap has increased to the champions league places. Now, Fiorentina are four points adrift of Udinese and five points back of the bianconeri bastards. Dagger indeed.
Why Fiorentina Lost
Martha and Steven reflected on the game at a greater length than I intend to, but there were a couple of major problems for Fiorentina at the Renzo Barbera on Saturday. First is that the goals have dried up. One point and only one goal in the last four league games is not going to get it done. Second was a couple of instances of lax defending. And third, which envelops both of the first two reasons is that there are some key injuries impacting the squad.
As for the attack, Pazzini did not create many chances. Mutu looked a bit more lively than he did against Inter, but when he was able to work himself free for a shot in the second half, he blasted the opportunities over the bar. Santana had his moments when he was out on the wing at the start of the second half, but once the substitutions and injuries forced a reshuffling of the formation, he was ineffective. And apparently our boy Montolivo does not read the blog. He was not particularly aggressive again, hanging back and giving away the ball three separate times in dangerous positions after Gamberini went off injured, one of these turnovers leading to Palermo's second goal.
Defensively, I'd have to say that I am proud of the effort, all things considered. Dainelli soldiered on like a captain should when he was clearly far less than 100% late in the second half after the team went down to 10 men. And Donadel, despite a couple of reckless challenges, a yellow card and being taken to the cleaners by Simplicio for the second goal, contributed his usual massive effort and did well to disrupt many Palermo attacks. Jorgensen played admirably at right back, showing his versatility and willingness to do whatever is necessary to help the team.
Worryingly for Viola fans, injuries at the back are building up and makeshift lineups will be necessary in the next few games. However, fortunately none of the injuries appear long-term or serious, and the fact that Serie A has a Christmas break should allow the team to be back at full strength after the first of the year. However, it may be time for Corvino to begin looking at his options to add some cover at the back during the transfer window.
Prandelli's Aggression Backfires
In every single Serie A match this year, Prandelli has made his 3 alloted substitutions. For the second time this season, Fiorentina had to finish a match down a man due to an injury after all the substitutions had been made (the first was insignificant as Montolivo went off injured with a 3-0 lead near the end of the home match to Empoli). Some observers will argue that this is an overaggressive tactic but I would like to take this chance to disagree vehemently.
Prandelli was going for the equalizer at the very least once Fiorentina went down 1-0. I'd like to support a coach who always pushes men forward and wastes no time in doing so when the team is behind. One of the low points of being a fan for me was during the last world cup when the USA went down 2-1 to Ghana on a bogus penalty at the stroke of half time. The USA needed to win the game to advance (there was a small chance that they could go forward with a draw but this was highly unlikely - and at any rate they did need to score again no matter what). Well that ass clown Bruce Arena didn't make any offensive substitutions to start the second half, but instead waited until the 61st minute to put a more offensive lineup on the field. As a fan, this was just 16 minutes of the game wasted without going for the needed goal. The USA might have conceded another goal by making the change but they would have put themselves in the best position to accomplish what they needed - another goal and most likely two more.
Oliver Kahn is a Jerk
The big ugly keeper has said some ignorant things about the two best players on his squad this year, newcomers Ribery and Fiorentina old boy Toni. It looks like Bayern have disciplined him for it. Good.
See you all again tomorrow. We'll talk about the Copa match against Ascoli and hopefully some more pressing matters. Peace.