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Fiorentina v. Palermo: Preview

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201506_hp.jpgTomorrow at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in beautiful Florence, Fiorentina will take on Palermo in a critical Series A match. It seems like ages since the Viola have last played, even though it was only last Sunday; but in this wonderful season they seem to almost always be playing twice a week as they compete both in the Italian league and in the UEFA Cup. It’s back to normal this week, in fact, as there is a huge game on Thursday in Glasgow vs. Rangers.

But first our team has a hugely important match vs. a very good Palermo team and their terrifying striker Amauri. Fiorentina continues to sit in fourth place in Series A with a four-point advantage over their nearest rivals, AC Milan and Samp. (Udinese is only five points back.) Palermo, meanwhile, is a fun team to watch and can be deadly on the attack; they are also likely feeling rejuvenated by the return of their former coach and excited about the prospect of finishing as high in the top seven in Series A.

But Fiorentina MUST win this game. Milan looks like a probable winner v. Reggina and Samp and Udinese are playing each other, so one of them will likely win. (I am pulling for the draw, of course.) Regardless, if Fiorentina drop this match someone will likely be within a point of the Viola. So it just can’t happen.

However, I am going into the weekend very confident. The Viola go into this match clicking on all cylinders (in spite of losing last week to Inter, a match which they played while exhausted for the busy UEFA Cup schedule) and playing at home; although Fiorentina have played better on the road as of late, (they pounded PSV in Eindhoven) they are a much stronger club at home and should play well, while also playing their trademark attractive attacking football.

Recent Form (all Competitions)

Fiorentina: L-D-W-W-L

Palermo: L-L-L-W-W

Starting Line-Ups (AKA The Blind Guess Department)

Fiorentina: Frey; Ujfalusi, Kroldrup, Gamberini, Pasqual; Kuzmanovic, Donadel, Montolivo; Santana, Pazzini, Mutu

Palermo: Agliardi; Cassani, Zaccardo, Rinaudo, Balzaretti; Guana, Migliaccio; Jankovic, Miccoli, Caserta; Amauri

Analysis

I honestly do think Palermo is a good club, and with Amauri at the point it’s hard not to imagine they’ll get at least a goal. But this week is Fiorentina’s moment. A win tomorrow (coupled, one hopes, with strong play on Thursday in Scotland) could see the Viola settle an historic season. I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, be a Fiorentina fan if I didn’t think they could win big tomorrow. It’s their moment, and I think they’ll shine.

Prediction

3-1 Fiorentina.

(Also, I see Milan winning and Udinese and Samp drawing 2-2 in a thriller.)

TV Situation

Here in the States the match is being aired live at 2:30 EST on FSC.

Finally

I will be back Saturday night/Sunday with the wrap-up.

Forza Viola! Forza Viola!