It's time for another midweek game, this time in Serie A as Bologna heads across the mountains to Florence for a Derby dell'Appennino that is important for both clubs in very different positions. While Fiorentina has taken advantage of an unpredictable start to the season and is currently in third place alone behind Inter and Torino(!), Bologna is currently involved in a 4 way tie for the last relegation spot with 3 losses in 4 games.
The referee for this one is Gianpaolo Calvarese, notorious among Fiorentina fans for giving Juan Cuadrado a yellow card for simulation against Napoli in October 2013, after what appeared to be a clear foul in the box by Gokhan Inler. Needless to say, he wouldn't be the preferred choice for many of us.
Wednesday, September 23rd
8:45 PM local/2:45 PM EST/12:45 PM PST
So far the Sousa era has been up and down. After a terrible loss in the Europa League against Paulo Sousa's former club FC Basel, Fiorentina grinded out a 0-1 victory at Carpi. While winning ugly is something the team struggled with under Montella, and is a welcome sign for the fans looking for more grit, this was not a convincing performance against Serie A minnows, regardless of how motivated they were. It was nice to see Ciprian Tatarusanu put in a strong performance, but the keeper shouldn't have to stand out against the likes of Carpi.
Sousa has shown tactical flexibility, switching between a 3 and 4 man backline many times already this season, and has been firmly committed to squad rotation. The Portuguese tactician has discussed Nikola Kalinic and Khouma Babacar (who scored the only goal against Carpi) as the reference point of his attack, so expect at least one of them to start up front.
While Sousa may favor a pragmatic, gritty approach where the ends justify the means, against a Bologna side that struggles to create offensive chances but can hold their own defensively, this is an opportunity for Fiorentina's creative players that are not Borja Valero to find the form they have lacked so far.
Bologna's return to Serie A has been far from ideal so far, as the team has struggled to find offense, with only two goals in 4 games and the least number of shots in the league so far. On Sunday they got their first win of the season (and first Serie A win in 546 days) against league worst Frosinone thanks to a goal by French midfielder Anthony Mounier, and although it was far from convincing, it gives them something to build on after three consecutive defeats to open the season.
Former short lived Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi has compensated for a lack of firepower with a cautious, defensive minded approach, mostly using a 4-3-3 counter attacking system that has only conceded a respectable five goals so far this season. Although they have been far from convincing, they held the high flying Sassuolo to one goal and managed to frustrate Lazio and Sampdoria despite losses.
Bologna's most notable player is Fiorentina target Mattia Destro, who moved there from Roma this summer. Destro has yet to score this season but has two goals in his last three games against la Viola.
Bologna have won only one of their last 14 games away to Fiorentina in Serie A, losing eight and drawing five. They also have not won an away game in their last 10.
Fiorentina :(3-4-2-1)Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Astori; Gilberto, Badelj, Valero, Alonso; Bernardeschi, Ilicic; Babacar
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; Ferrari, Gastaldello, Oikonomou, Masina; Pulgar, Crisetig, Taider; Brienza, Destro, Mounier
How to watch
TV: Don't expect an English language feed for this one. If you are in Italy, it should be on Sky Calcio 5. For viewing options where you are click here.
Online: Take a look here to see if any of these fit the bill for you. Any links to illegal streams will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned. As always, you can also follow along with us live on Twitter. If you haven't already, join the community on Viola Nation, and join in the discussion below.