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Fiorentina v. Sampdoria: Preview

download-14.jpgI feel like I’ve spent the last three months writing about how the next Fiorentina match is “the most important game of the season.” Yeah, I’m a broken record. But tomorrow is the most important game of the season. At least until Thursday’s game with Rangers.

It is a hugely important match. The winner of tomorrow’s game in Florence could very well determine who gets the fourth and final Champions League spot in Italy. Fiorentina, as we all know, have a four-point lead over their two nearest rivals, Samp and AC Milan. A win at home tomorrow by the Viola (essentially) eliminates Samp from the CL race and leaves them four up on Milan, presuming they win. With three to play and some difficult games coming up for Milan, Fiorentina could finally cement their Champions League credentials. A win by Samp, meanwhile, throws the who race wide, wide open. And a draw? We all know that’s like kissing your sister, and then you all will have to sit through this “most important match of the season” stuff again next weekend.

Fiorentina is playing very good football, in my mind, and have been very strong at home. I look for them to play well. The biggest concern of Viola fans, obviously, is that the club just played an exhausting and physical game on Thursday evening that could very well have left them emotionally drained. We will have to count on the Great Man to motivate the boys, reminding them of the import of this match. I’m sure he will.

Recent Form (all Competitions)

Fiorentina: W-W-L-W-D

Samp: D-W-W-L-W

Starting Line-Ups (AKA The Blind Guess Department)

Fiorentina: Frey; Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Kroldrup, Gobbi; Montolivo, Kuzmanovic, Liverani; Santana, Vieri, Mutu

Samp: Mirante- Lucchini, Sala, Accardi, Maggio- Delvecchio, Francheschini, Palombo, Pieri- Bellucci, Cassano

Samp looks to be fully fit, while my man Pazzini is out on suspension.

Analysis

Fiorentina, on the whole, is the better club who has played better football so far this year over a broader set of competitions. In recent weeks their defensive form has improved dramatically, their balls up top from the midfield are better, and their attacking players (possibly excepting Santana) continue to play very well. They are surely tired, but if they can find their legs for ninety minutes, playing at home, I think they can beat Samp and destroy their Champions League dreams.

Prediction

3-0 Fiorentina.

Bonus Prediction

Halfway through the first, Antonio Cassano will go down in the Viola box untouched. Outraged that no penalty was called, who will proceed to take off all of his clothes, begin sobbing, and scream for his childhood teddy bear. A visibly uncomfortable Adrian Mutu will gingerly walk over, pat his back, and tell him everything will be all right in the morning. Even as Cassano is escorted off the pitch, bloggers will continue to insist that he still deserves a spot on the national team.

TV Situation

The game will be showed live here in the states on RAI at 9AM EST.

I will be back late Sunday night or Monday with a recap of the match. Have a good weekend, everybody.

Forza Viola!