Beating Atalanta in Bergamo was never an easy task, and a baggage of only one point and no goals scored in the first two games of the season only adds to pressure. Hopefully, an easy win in Europa League will bring Fiorentina some peace and much needed self confidence, and will have broken a mental barrier that seemed to be there against Genoa last week.
The orobici are enjoying a good start of the season. Surely, two rounds are not much to go by, but like in the last few seasons, they are well organized, hard working side. For years now they pretty much routinely avoid relegation, mostly thanks to their home record. Their stand out player is a prolific forward, Germán Denis up front. Argentine has scored more than ten goals per season since he joined the nerazzurri in 2011. Another one to keep an eye on is, one of the most interesting young players in Italy, Daniele Baselli. The talented midfielder was reportedly on Fiorentina's radar this summer, and there are certainly those of us who wouldn't mind seeing him wearing the purple shirt next season. He just got back from injury, so, lucky for Fiorentina, might not start, but is expected to play for at least a part of the game. Those two are the stars, but Atalanta's main weapon is teamwork. One might even say they are a (little) more exciting version of Chievo.
So, should we panic? Of course not. Mario Gomez & company perhaps haven't had the most impressive start to the season, but the Genoa game, and the second half of Roma one showed that there is no place for panic. The viola are still one of the best teams in the league, and the amount of talent at the disposal of two coaches cannot even be compared.
Vincenzo Montella is expected to put faith in the same 4-3-2-1 formation that didn't really produce much in the way of goalscoring in the first two rounds. Packed central midfield guarantees lots of possession and control of the game, but once again, that leaves wide positions somewhat vulnerable. Reports suggest that Josip Iličić will get the start, over Khouma El Babacar. Let's hope that him and Juan Cuadrado behind Gomez is the winning combination that will help SuperMario finally score, and more importantly - bring Fiorentina first win of the season.
No Fiorentina players are injured (except, sadly, Giuseppe Rossi). Borja Valero is doubtful, after he took a knock on Thursday against Guingamp, but he is among the called up players for the match at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
In the end some (not so encouraging) numbers. Atalanta and Fiorentina have played 51 times in Bergamo, and the hosts are more successful. The orobici have won 19 times, the viola 12, and 20 matches ended up in a draw. Last two games in Bergamo, however, ended in the exact same way - with Fiorentina 2-0 win. No reason not to make it a tradition.
Projected line ups:
Atalanta (4-4-1-1): Sportiello; Zappacosta, Biava, Benalouane, Dramè; Cigarini, Carmona, D'alessandro, Estigarribia; Moralez; Denis
Fiorentina (4-3-1-2): Neto; Tomović, Rodriguez, Savić, Marcos Alonso; Pizarro, Aquilani, Borja Valero; Ilicic, Cuadrado; Mario Gomez