Vincenzo Montella suffered another injury blow to their "cursed" attack this week (his words... and mine), with Mario Gomez succumbing to yet another injury (thankfully, this one isn't as lengthy as the previous two). But for the neutral and fan alike, the newest knock to a Fiorentina superstar serves to add interest to an already intriguing showdown in Florence. Last year's match up was just a slightly memorable 3-4 defeat to a swashbuckling Sassuolo, a game more full of narratives than an Italo Calvino masterwork. Giuseppe Rossi's return was overshadowed by nightmarish defending and Alessandro Matri in attack.
This Sassuolo visit is unlikely to prove very different in the ebb and flow of the game, as Eusebio Di Francesco will still set up his team to counterattack speedily through its young attacking talent; this approach will be hampered, however, by the absence of the suspended Domenico Berardi and the surprising absence of Simone Zaza - newly key to Antonio Conte's Italian national team. Di Francesco really appears to be doing us a favor by resting Zaza. Sassuolo are also suffering a stuttering start to their season, with two away defeats in Milan and two draws at home.
For Fiorentina, Borja Valero and David Pizarro return to the starting lineup after getting a game off away to Bergamo. Jasmin Kurtic wins the start over Alberto Aquilani after stealing the show in the last match, while Marcos Alonso is again favored to Manuel Pasqual after an indifferent display against Atalanta, while - most excitingly - Khouma Babacar leads the line for the first time under Vincenzo Montella in Serie A. The Senegal-born Fiorentina youth product had a great preseason after a fantastic Serie B loan spell at Modena, and is entrusted with the central role in the absence of Gomez. We'll have to wait until at least the first substitution to see him pair with fellow primavera Federico Bernardeschi, although it's never a shame to see Joaquin get some minutes.
Here are the full lineups. Make your voice heard below!
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Savic, Alonso; Kurtic, Pizarro, Borja Valero; Cuadrado, Babacar, Joaquin
Sassuolo (4-3-3): Consigli; Vrsaljko, Antei, Cannavaro, Longhi; Biondini, Magnanelli, Chibsah; Floro Flores, Floccari, Sansone