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Fiorentina vs. Milan Preview: Team News, TV Schedule, and How to Watch

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The Viola kick off their 2015-16 Serie A campaign at home against a reinforced Milan side under the direction of a former Fiorentina manager

Joaquin was the hero against Milan last season, but will he play on Sunday?
Joaquin was the hero against Milan last season, but will he play on Sunday?
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

If you, dear Fiorentina fan, aren't excited about this game well then you are probably an unfeeling shell of a human, and I am sorry to inform you of this fact, but that's the way things stand, and it is best to just acknowledge such a sad state of affairs and move on.

Now, you Viola faithful who still feel emotions like love and terror will be excited to know that Fiorentina host AC Milan in their Serie A season opener under the floodlights of the Artemio Franchi. Doesn't that just get the blood moving?

There's a lot to look at and breakdown ahead of this huge inaugural match, but let's take things nice and easy while you catch your breath, and start with the Milan side of the ball.

Milan Team News

There have been wholesale changes in the rossoneri camp this summer, and that's as it should be, because Milan were a steaming pile of mediocrity last season. They finished 10th under the guidance of former playing legend Filippo Inzaghi, who was predictably inexperienced as a coach. He has been replaced by an, um, mediocre former Viola coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Fiorentina vs. Milan August 23rd, 2015 20:45 local, 2:45 ET Stadio Artemio FranchiFlorence, IT

Miha has apparently learned a good deal since his spell in Florence, with his gritty Sampdoria proving one of the surprise packages of last season. However, we remember bad times under him with Fiorentina, and the Serbian national team didn't have a great time with him managing either. So it'll be interesting to see how Milan set up on the road under their new boss; certainly, if Paulo Sousa is a reactive tactician, one could say that Sinisa is a reactionary extremist.

However their new manager decides to approach this match, the main problem for Milan the past several seasons has been a lack of talented players across the field, and Adriano Galliani and company have finally sunk some serious money into the summer transfer window in order to finally remedy the issue. New signings Carlos Bacca (Sevilla) and Luiz Adriano (Shakhtar Donetsk) are both expected to start in attack, while ridiculously expensive 20 year old defender and former Roma man Alessio Romagnoli is now entrusted with restoring dignity to a once-legendary back four disgraced by years of Philippe Mexes captaining the side.

It will be interesting to see if Mihajlovic entrusts returning Milan loanee centerback Rodrigo Ely at Romagnoli's side on the road, although that has been the pairing favored at the end of preseason. Former Genoa left back Luca Antonelli has made that side his own, while Mattia De Sciglio and Ignazio Abate are competing for the right side's starting berth.

Also expensive and also former Genoa midfielder Andrea Bertolacci is expected to start as well over incumbent Andrea Poli, rounding out a completely new spine for Milan which has lots of promise but will almost definitely need time to gel. Will Mean Uncle Miha be the guy to smooth over a transitional period? The grand experiment begins in Florence on Sunday.

Fiorentina Team News

The Viola's own "experiment" or "transition" (or what you will) also begins to produce measurable data that same evening. Sousa has made an excellent impression on the Fiorentina faithful this summer, and the team surprised with excellent results and performances in the preseason friendlies. But all that will be forgotten in a hurry if the home team is run ragged on opening night.

Sousa is expected to keep with his flexible 4-2-3-1 against Milan, with the defense nearly set. Ciprian Tatarusanu will be the starting keeper, Nenad Tomovic will remain the restrained right back, with Gonzalo Rodriguez and Davide Astori the center back pairing (and a nice test to begin the season with too, having to look after Bacca and Luiz Adriano). One of Manuel Pasqual and Marcos Alonso will start on the left.

Mario Suarez and Borja Valero will almost certainly be the holding midfield pair, with the Spanish duo looking sharp in preseason. Borja in particular has said in repeated interviews that he has enjoyed dictating play from a little deeper, and staying in the center of the action.

The attacking "4" is where most of the question marks remain. Joaquin is not expected to start on his usual right side in light of his recent transfer drama, and it will likely be Federico Bernardeschi impersonating a winger on that side. On the opposite wing, Giuseppe Rossi is not expected to start, with Matias Fernandez maybe adding his tippy-tappy Chilean flair over there. Josip Ilicic and Khouma Babcar are apparently certain of their places in the heart of the attack, but, you know, who knows.

Despite the continued absence of a real right back and this Joaquin thing, Fiorentina will have a strong side - and a reasonably strong bench - to challenge the visitors. Make sure to purchase your chosen salty foodstuff of choice. Or popcorn, you can grab some popcorn if you're super duper boring.

Projected Lineups

Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Astori, Pasqual; M. Suarez, Borja Valero; Bernardeschi, Ilicic, M. Fernandez; Babacar

Milan (4-3-1-2): Diego Lopez; De Sciglio, Ely, Romagnoli, Antonelli; Bertolacci, De Jong, Bonaventura; Honda; Luiz Adriano, Bacca

Watch It

TV: Rai International (U.S. and Australia), BT Sport Europe (UK)

Online: This match should also be available online with beIN sports, although it is rather confusing how to access it. There seem to be more channels this season? More when we know more.

Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter if emojis or banter are more your thing.

ONE FINAL THING

We are just kind of excited.

Just a little. Forza Viola.