Tomorrow afternoon (for them), at exactly 15:00 P.M. Italian Time, Firenze...no, Italy... nay, the World, will witness the Viola's return on to the pitch. That's right, we're done hypothesizing; let's start criticizing. Just kidding...I hope.
The road ahead shows Fiorentina confronting three out of the four teams which are said to be in the running for the scudetto: Milan, Roma, and Juventus over the first 7 games. Now, I'm not sure how Juventus got on that list, but they are still a team to be reckoned with. Today the bianconeri humiliated poor Livorno 5-1. The score lies, however, as Livorno did not play so terribly, and if they had managed to pull their offense together the final score would have been something along the lines of 37-5. But at least it was a clean, fair, totally controversy-free game right? If you nodded while reading that statement, you must have forgotten who Livorno was playing. During the game, a penalty was denied to Juve's opponents for holding, yet minutes later one was awarded to the Jailbirds for-you guessed it- holding. I didn't see the play, but it was supposedly quite a questionable call. Welcome back, Juve. We missed you guys.
Other Serie A action today saw Lazio and Torino battle for an eventual 2-2 draw. I saw most of this game, up until the last goal was scored. Lazio looked very good in stretches; Mudingayi particularly impressed me. However, they made many mistakes and mis-passes, particularly during attacking plays. Torino mainly hung on to Lazio's defensive mistakes and a great goal by Alessandro Rosina, who lobbed a ball over the keeper's head from outside the box.
Tomorrow then, Fiorentina will face off with Empoli, which could be a very insidious match-up. For the last few years, Empoli has surprised nearly everyone, finishing in the top half of the league and generally being a team not to be underestimated.
Neither Semioli nor Jorgensen will be playing in the match, because of injury troubles and fever, respectively.
This is the likely formation for tomorrow: Frey; Potenza,Dainelli, Gamberini, Pasqual; Montolivo, Donadel, Liverani; Santana, Mutu, Pazzini.
These are the 22 players that have been called up: Avramov, Dainelli, Donadel, Frey, Gamberini, Gobbi, Kroldrup, Kuzmanovic, Liverani, Lupatelli, Lupoli, Mazuch, Montolivo, Mutu, Osvaldo, Pasuqal, Pazienza, Pazzini, Potenza, Santana, Vanden Borre, Vieri.
Fiorentina-Empoli is a derby, so we can expect a hard-fought game. It's a matter of pride, and things could get ugly. We'll be needing a nanny.