Sandwiched in like sardines on a boiling hot London underground train, we headed towards West London. Heeding advice to travel well in advance of the 24 hour tube strike which commenced at 6:30pm on the night of the game; hoards of commuters and football fans on our tube train headed in the direction of Stamford Bridge.
Our tickets had been arranged thanks to Viola Club London, as we took our seats among the small (but vociferous nonetheless) Fiorentina fans in the away section. It was our first time as 'real' away fans; surprising all the Chelsea staff around us that we were, in fact, English. The stewards surrounded the away section in numbers, the Italian fans wrestling with the concept of having to remain seated in the stadium - an alien notion to those used to standing in the Curva Fiesole.
Having been disappointed many times in the past by pre-season friendlies that have not been able to quench the insatiable close-season thirst for competitive matches, I was surprised by the feel of this game. It was clear that neither side wanted to lose. The reunion with Juan Cuadrado went by with neither applause nor vitriol as the travelling support stayed focused on their own team.
In terms of the play, you can read our match report here, but from a personal point of view, I thought that Gonzalo Rodríguez, Ante Rebić and Mario Suárez were the star performers in what was an excellent display against the reigning English champions. Khouma Babacar had a quiet first half and Giuseppe Rossi produced an unsurprisingly tired looking display in the second. As with the Barcelona match, the game became a little disjointed in the second half as players were substituted in numbers.
It was yet another fun night with viola friends old and new, and as you can see from the gallery pictures, it was a fantastic chance to see the team up close.