Where We Are
The Vincenzo Montella Purple Submarine (copyright LorenzoCalcio 2014) has marched on despite absences, injuries, inclement weather, and other adversities ... such as occasionally not playing that well. The challenges don't stop there, however, as 5 regular first team players will miss the game against Genoa, including Gonzalo Rodriguez (1 match yellow card ban), Borja Valero (mild muscular problem, 2 weeks out is the forecast), and Nenad Tomovic (awaiting confirmations, but potentially 6-8 weeks).
Defensive purchases are being scouted, but in the meantime a makeshift 4 man defense of Facundo Roncaglia, Stefan Savic, Marvin Compper, and Manuel Pasqual is predicted to start. A recently-excellent Mati Fernandez will slot in for Borja Valero, with Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro expected to complete the midfield. The same attacking trident that worked so well in Catania is expected to get an encore at home, with Alessandro Matri in between Juan Manuel Vargas and Juan Cuadrado.
Where They Are
Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini has had a seesaw time back at the helm of his great managerial success, with some emphatic victories and some very poor defeats. Much of the side's threat going forward is carried by their top-scorer and former Fiorentina player Alberto Gilardino, who despite growing more inconsistent is still capable of carrying great menace by himself, especially on aerial balls (see the 4th goal here, grazie a Matteo for sending me the link). Genoa are also likely to give veteran Argentine defender Nicolas Burdisso his debut at the Artemio Franchi on Sunday, with the former Roma man arriving only last week.
Gasperini has likely learned from his mistakes in the first meeting between these two teams in Genoa in September, where Fiorentina tore into an exposed grifoni defense, but he also doesn't have to fear a strike partnership as fearsome as Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez, though the big German bomber is (finally finally finally) expected to be taking full practices with the team on Monday. All eyes on Mati and Matri, who we hope continue in the way they have begun their 2014, and a little glance in the direction of Cuadrado and (if he starts) Aquilani, who have been decisively below the high levels of this Fiorentina side for a little bit now. Genoa will look to use their excellent wingplay to serve Gilardino, so keep an eye especially on the Viola right hand side, where in-form Luca Antonelli might expose the occasionally erratic Roncaglia. Let's hope for a big three points to take us within one of the Champions League, and to keep the momentum going despite the adversity. Forza viola!!!
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Neto; Roncaglia, Savic, Compper, Pasqual; Matias Fernandez, Pizarro, Aquilani; Cuadrado, Matri, Vargas
Genoa (4-5-1): Perin; Antonini, De Maio, Burdisso, Marchese; Konate, Bertolacci, Metuzalem, De Ceglie, Antonelli; Gilardino