By now, we're all tired of losing 2-1. After Napoli, Lech Poznan, and Roma, the very concept of 2-1 has turned from a simple losing scoreline into a mocking, hideous, double digit nightmare that haunts the darkest, deepest recesses of the human psyche. And now, we go again. Please let's not lose 2-1 again. I can't take it. But to quote that guy in that Batman film, the night is darkest just before the dawn. So after a tough run of fixtures, Fiorentina will be spending their Wednesday night battling against Hellas Verona. Theoretically, this is a winnable fixture. Theoretically.
Despite all the doom and gloom of the opening paragraph, Fiorentina are still sitting pretty in Serie A, tied for third with four teams all on 18 points. If anyone had asked during the summer, few Viola fans would have been too furious with the current standings.
However, the recent fixtures have quelled suggestions that the scudetto might be a legitimate target for the season. Instead, Paulo Sousa will need to reinvigorate his team after a tough run. Get heads up, keep people smiling, etc., etc.
Typically this season, we've seen one squad for the weekend and one for the midweek fixtures. These have usually switched in tandem, moving between Serie A and Europa League, but Sousa may be tempted to try and mix it up a little in an effort to restore winning ways.
After a late goal at the weekend, Khouma Babacar could be set to start. Likewise, Guiseppe Rossi, Josip Iličić, and Ante Rebić have all struggled variously with injuries, form, and suspensions in recent weeks. As such, the forward line might be shuffled as the first port of call.
Marcos Alonso may not start after his injury problems have gone on a little longer than expected, whilst candles are being lit across Florence in the hope that anyone other than Nenad Tomović will appear in the back line.
For the last few seasons, Hellas Verona have relied on the goals of former Fiorentina favorite Luca Toni. Toni spent a fair few seasons with La Viola, spread across two separate spells. He scored 55 goals for Fiorentina and who doesn't love the big Italian's tactics of being much bigger than other people and heading it in the net? It's glorious.
But despite his recent renaissance in a Verona shirt, Hellas might have become a little bit too reliant on Toni. His goals have been vital in their last couple of seasons, but when he hasn't been available, they've struggled. Now with Toni at 38, it seems mad to rely so heavily on one aging player for all the goals. He's only made four appearances so far this season and will be out for at least another month with an injury to his left knee.
Hellas Verona have signed Giampaolo Pazzini to try and replicate some of Toni's goal-scoring form. But as anyone who signs Pazzini finds out, he is a bit rubbish. It looks like he may miss this one through injury, but otherwise you could have expected him to bag a hat-trick.
Without their main man, Verona have struggled. They're currently 19th in the league and struggling to find any kind of form. Their best players have been Federico Viviani, Leandro Greco, and Vangelis Moras. Meanwhile, former Barcelona man Rafael Márquez (once deemed too slow for MLS) is a regular feature in the center of the defense.
Despite the fact that it's only October, Hellas Verona will be increasingly certain they're in a relegation battle. They'll be fighting hard for a point and they're not exactly known for their soft treatment of opposing teams. While they're not quite Chievo (that's the other side of town), we're dangerously close to 'wet and windy Tuesday night in Stoke' territory here. Sure, Verona can't really compare to the lovely city of Stoke, but that's besides the point.
Hellas Verona (4-3-3): Rafael; Pisano, Marquez, Moras, Souprayen; Ionita, Greco, Sala; Taleb, Gomez, Jankovic.
Fiorentina (3-4-2-1): Tatarusanu; Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Astori; Blaszczykowski, Vecino, Badelj, Pasqual; Bernardeschi, Borja Valero; Kalinic.
1-3. As long as it's not 2-1.
How to watch
TV: It'll be on Sky Calcio 6 in Italy and beIN Sports in the United States.
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