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Fiorentina v. Newcastle United: Preview

On Saturday Fiorentina will take on Newcastle United in a match that could tell us, with some finality, whether the Viola are going to be the real deal this year or not. Coming off two disheartening losses and the sale or loan of (seemingly) most of the forwards on the team, Fiorentina needs at least a draw to get their season back on track. A win is not out of the question, of course. Last season, I missed the live broadcast of this same match because I was at birthing classes with my wife, preparing for the arrival of my now-eight-month-old son. I rushed home and turned the DVR on to find that Fiorentina had stirringly defeated Newcastle on their own ground (for some reason played in Turin instead of the English northeast) in a match that I likened to the Allies defeating the Axis powers and the Rebel Alliance defeating the Galactic Empire in my euphoric, subsequent blog post. So it could definitely happen again, even if we have loaned Papa Waigo.

There are things to be worried about however. No, I’m not talking about Mutu and Frey’s continuing injury concerns or our problems at the back. I’m talking about our club going broke. There have been some concerns that there has been a bit of financial worries at the club since they started selling every player they controlled who has two legs. Fine. I’m not worried. We can still beat anyone as long as we have Frey and My Precious. But what concerns me is that this financial mess has gotten to the point that the Great Man has promised HE WILL TAKE THE TEAM OUT FOR PIZZA IF THEY BEAT NEWCASTLE! Pizza?!? Is this all the team has left? Pizza? Christ, I could buy the team a couple of pizzas! If they promise to come and play a friendly vs. Samp in my backyard, I will buy them all the pizzas they want. I’ll even let Gamberini get one with anchovies.

Aside from the fact that Prandelli is using the same motivational tactics that I would use if I were coaching an Under-8 girls team, there are other worries as well. Mutu will not play, and while reports on Frey are positive it will still be a game-time decision. We are down to slim and none up front, and I’m guessing Jovetic will start with Gila (who damn well better show up this weekend) but we shall see.

Meanwhile, who will start for Newcastle? Hells if I know. Del Piero? Mike Owen? Zidane? Alan Shearer? John Charles? Ray Charles? Charlie Brown? Who Cares?

Starting Line-Ups (AKA The Blind Guess Department)

Newcastle: Buffon, Grygera, Mellberg, Legrottaglie, De Ceglie, Marchionni, Marchisio, Zanetti, Nedved, Del Piero, Amauri.

Fiorentina: Frey, Zauri, Kroldrup, Gamberini, Vargas, Kuzmanovic, Felipe Melo, Montolivo, Santana, Gilardino, Jovetic.

Recent Form

Newcastle

Jan 18: Lazio 1-1 Newcastle (Serie A)
Jan 11: Newcastle 1-0 Siena (Serie A)
Dec 21: Atalanta 1-3 Newcastle (Serie A)
Dec 14: Newcastle 4-2 Milan (Serie A)
Dec 7: Lecce 1-2 Newcastle (Serie A)

Fiorentina

Jan 17: Milan 1-0 Fiorentina (Serie A)
Jan 11: Fiorentina 1-2 Lecce (Serie A)
Dec 21: Sampdoria 0-1 Fiorentina (Serie A)
Dec 14: Fiorentina 2-1 Catania (Serie A)
Dec 7: Torino 1-4 Fiorentina (Serie A)

The Viola and Newcastle drew in the opening match of the season in beautiful Florence. Fiorentina defeated the evil empire on their own turf when they played them last season.

Prediction

Fiorentina will defeat Newcastle United 3-0.

TV Situation

The game will be shown at 2:30PM live here in the states on FSC and RAI. Bless.

One Final Note

When the hell did Newcastle join Series A? Does anyone else think it’s odd that an old English team would move to Italy and be allowed to join the league? And what the hell is up with those ass-ugly kits?

Forza Viola, everybody!