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Slipping Away: Fiorentina-Chievo

Europe is falling farther and farther from Florence. As defensive errors leave a woefully exposed viola at the hands of Bologna, Fiorentina are once again forced to watch their backs as European qualification appears to be on the ropes.


Fiorentina's current problems stretch from the front to the back. As the viola revel in a seemingly refound Adem Ljajic, the sterile attack continues to frustrate while defensive errors in the back gift the viola as being an easy target. The latest victim of this curse is Stefan Savic who gave away a free ball in the dying moments of Bolognas match to give them the three points. With Catania, Udinese, and Roma on Fiorentina's heels, and the top four finding weekly results, Fiorentina need to find the winning spirit and find it fast.

Montella is already looking at the alternatives, punishing Savic with a trip to the bench and a starting position for Marvin Compper, the enigmatic German arriving in the January window. With Cuadrado out on a accumulation of yellow cards, the 4-3-3 seems to be confirmed once again with Ljajic, Jovetic, and the return of Luca Toni to the starting XI.

Meanwhile Chievo are languishing just above the drop zone. Spearheaded by former viola captain, Dario Dainelli, the flying donkeys have had a dreadful away form, managing only three away wins all season. Their latest came from a drubbing at the San Siro against Inter last weekend, but they have still managed to find frustrating results, featuring a deadly trio of Paloschi, Thereau, and Pellissier with 16 goals between them. This season they've managed to defeat Lazio in Rome and Roma in Verona, showing resilience in some aspects of their game. Like any other team, Chievo can't be underestimated, especially not in Fiorentina's see-sawing form.

Pizarro makes his welcome return this weekend as Montella confirms the 4-3-3 with Viviano in goal, and the likely return of Roncaglia plus Compper, Pasqual, and Gonzalo. Aquilani partners back with Borja and Pizarro with Toni, Ljajic, and JoJo up front. Mati Fernandez has healed and will return to the bench.

Paloschi and Pellissier are fighting for a starting position with the ex-Milan man holding the advantage. Chievo arrive with Puggioni, Frey, Dainelli. Andreoli, Acerbi, Jokic, Guana, Cofie, Rigoni, Paloschi, and Thereau.

Main dangers here are Paloschi, Thereau, and Acerbi and Jokic. What Fiorentina have to think about is keeping their defense tight and their attack sharp. March has historically favored the viola. So we can only hope that Montella manages to uphold that advantage.