A quick turnaround for a beleaguered Fiorentina, but at least they're familiar with their opponents: Serie A new boys Carpi. Despite the relatively tame 2-0 win for la Viola in the summer, new signings and the passion of a real game means this time out should be considerably more difficult. The referee for this one is M. di Bello, about whom I know nothing.
Sunday, September 20th
6:00 PM local/12 PM EST/9 AM PST
After garnering their first-ever Serie A point last week against Palermo, Carpi will be gunning for their first top level win against a vulnerable-looking Fiorentina. As one might expect, the Biancorossi are a counter-attacking side, more than happy to concede possession and try to hit on the break. Manager Fabrizio Castori has done a good job with the club, switching formations from the 4-4-1-1 he used in the opener at Sampdoria--which resulted in Carpi getting blown out 5-2--to a more solid 3-5-1-1, with which his charges gave Inter Milan a good game in a 2-1 loss and then tied Palermo. Although they're a rather reactive side, Carpi have yet to be shut out this season, scoring five goals through three games.
Castori has few selection difficulties. He is missing key man Luca Marrone, who's been deployed as a holding midfielder, and new signing Kamil Wilczek, but has the rest of his club at his disposal. Goalkeeper Zjelko Brkic could fill in for Francesco Benussi. Isaac Cofie seems likely to replace Marrone, but Matteo Fedele is also an option, as is ex-Viola Andrea Lazzari. The danger man is Matos Ryder, who some of you may be familiar with. Preferring to drift wide, then run at goal, the high motor Brazilian is becoming a dangerous and complete attacker--almost exactly the sort of player Fiorentina could use (and good lord, this). Fellow striker and All-World name team member Kevin Lasagna is also a threat.
Paulo Sousa has had an up-and-down tenure already. Fresh off an embarrassing home loss to his former team FC Basel, he needs badly to regain some form. Carpi will no doubt have studied how Torino and Basel neutralized Fiorentina--tightly marking the Viola midfielders (especially Borja Valero) when the defenders have the ball and forcing the center backs into long passes. The Portuguese mister is already starting to come under some criticism for his lack of a Plan B; Carpi would be a good place to unveil it.
Unfortunately, though, his options are rather limited. Davide Astori is still working off what looked like a concussion against Basel and shouldn't be allowed to play. Josip Ilicic and Matias Vecino are nursing dings to the ankle and thigh, respectively, while new signing Jakub Blaszczykowski is recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered against the Swiss side. Add in Milan Badelj's one-game suspension for a red card against Genoa, and Sousa and his charges will have to be at his best.
Carpi(3-5-1-1): Benussi; Gagliolo, Bubnjic, Zaccardo; Gabriel Silva, Fedele, Cofie, Lollo, Letizia; Matos; Mbakogu
Fiorentina (3-4-2-1): Tatarusanu; Roncaglia, Gonzalo, Tomovic; Alonso, Suarez, Valero, Gilberto; Rossi, Bernardeschi; Babacar
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