Fiorentina have traveled to face Guingamp this midweek (holiday midweek no less, if you, like me, are in the United States). Vincenzo Montella and company are fresh from a badly needed and bitterly contested victory on the road against Verona, and will face this game with little trepidation. After all, Fiore handled the French club reasonably well at home in their first victory of the season, and only need a draw at the Stade du Roudourou (could that name be any more French?) to clinch the top spot in Group K.
The relaxed nature of this fixture from a purple perspective also has the added benefit of allowing Montella to tinker with a team badly in need of having kinks worked out and a best XI discovered. A stuttering fall campaign rich with highs and lows needs to even itself out a bit in this spell of away fixtures before hosting Juventus in a week and a half. A friendly fixture list after hosting our bitter enemy could see la Viola shoot up the table... If we get things right starting now.
To this end, Montella is expected to move away from the 3-5-2 (again) in favor of a Christmas tree formation that suits a team without Juan Cuadrado; consequently, we should expect space for Milan Badelj, Jasmin Kurtic, and - most intriguingly - Marko Marin behind Khouma Babacar. No Mario Gomez, David Pizarro, or Gonzalo Rodriguez then on Thanksgiving Thursday, and almost certainly no Borja Valero either. Josip Ilicic is expected to start however, in a spectacular piece of irony for a day set aside for the consumption of turkey.
As for Guingamp, they have found it difficult to assert themselves in Ligue 1, and remain in the relegation zone. They are only 2 points from safety however, and look a good bet to advance from the group as the second seed as long as they can avoid defeat in the final match. A result against our pesky Tuscan outfit would certainly aid their cause, so let's hope that we stay focused and clinch the top spot and get a string of positive results together.
Even if you don't celebrate, enjoy a "day of thanks" everyone, as you watch our boys play. FORZA VIOLA!