With last week's victory against Palermo, Fiorentina are poised in sixth place, only four points off of third place, and are looking for a big win heading into a much more difficult stretch in their calendar. With a good recent track record against the "Flying Donkeys," Viola fans can be optimistic about three points on the road here. Or at least, as optimistic as we ever get.
The last time Fiorentina faced Chievo Verona it was - to say the least - an odd game. Yes, that was the game of Mario Gomez's second to last Serie A goal, which he scored starting in an offside position. Rafael Wolski started for Fiorentina in midfield, David Pizarro missed a penalty, and Alessandro Matri also scored. It was weird.
Chievo Verona, for their part, remain much the same as ever: a conservative team that doesn't ever do particularly well, but does just enough to avoid relegation. Rolando Maran has taken over for Eugenio Corini, but the formula has remained basically the same. Chievo have amassed only 13 goals this season, joint-worst in Serie A, and 12 goals less than Fiorentina. They also aren't a team that manage many so-called "giant killings," with their only scalp against a top half club coming against Napoli in September, when they won 0-1 in Naples.
Vincenzo Montella has left Mounir El Hamdaoui, Norberto Neto, and Josip Ilicic out of his roster for Sunday's game at the Bentegodi, likely for transfer market related reasons, while Stefan Savic remains suspended and Alberto Aquilani is injured. Alessandro Diamanti will have to wait for his debut, since Montella did not make him eligible for this one either, preferring to potentially use him as a starter in the midweek Coppa Italia clash against Atalanta. With half an eye on the week's coming commitments, Montella may also opt to hand a start to Milan Badelj in order to rest Pizarro; the Croat was tried with the "starters" in training this week.
Let's hope it's a grand old time and we close in on that tantalizing third spot! Forza Viola!
Chievo Verona (4-4-2): Bizzarri; Frey, Dainelli, Cesar, Zukanovic; Birsa, Izco, Cofie, Hetemaj; Meggiorini, Paloschi
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): TATARUSANU; TOMOVIC, GONZALO, BASANTA; JOAQUIN, MATI, BADELJ, BORJA VALERO, PASQUAL; CUADRADO, GOMEZ