Oh wow. I'd forgotten how much more fun it is to write these when Fiorentina actually wins. I'm positively giddy. Anyways, let's dive into the stats that have left me in such a state. As always, the numbers are from WhoScored.com.
|Shots (on goal)||Shots inside/outside area||Possession||Passes (short/long)||Passing success||Crosses/attempted||Dribbles/attempted||Aerial duels won/attempted||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Clearances||Fouls||Yellow/red cards||Corners||Offsides|
|Fiorentina||13 (2)||5/8||59%||502 (442/38)||88%||2/17||5/11||11/18||21/29||10||19||13||1/0||3||1|
|Torino||9 (2)||7/2||41%||356 (286/50)||81%||8/20||8/20||7/18||15/20||18||24||25||4/0||8||2|
|Short passes/attempted||Long passes/attempted||Crosses/attempted||Touches||Shots (on target)||Shots inside/outside area||Dribbles/attempted||Possession lost||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Clearances||Successful aerial battles||Fouls committed/suffered||Yellow/red cards||Offsides||Saves||Goals||Assists||Minutes|
Paulo Sousa finally changed up his game plan, although it may have been due to the lack of available midfielders more than anything. By fielding two out-and-out strikers, he pushed the Torino defense back and made long clearances from the defense a viable option to start attacks. He also ended up with more of a 4-man back line, possibly because Torino's left wingback Davide Zappacosta was frequently their highest player up the pitch, pushing Manuel Pasqual deeper. To compensate, Joan Verdú frequently drifted left.
In fairness, a lot of Fiorentina's success was due to Giampiero Ventura's bizarre insistence that his team play out from the back, even under pressure, which gifted the Viola a succession of good chances. Still, this will hopefully serve as a reminder to the Portuguese mister that sometimes, route 1 isn't a terrible idea.
Quick thoughts: Another week, another Facundo Roncaglia hospital pass. The large number of clearances from Gonzalo Rodríguez and Davide Astori shows that the defense was more comfortable than usual to hoof it downfield; call it the Babacar effect. Big props to Verdú and Borja Valero for some tough defensive work in the middle against a physical and talented Torino bunch; didn't think they had it in them. And oh my gosh, Borja, that's about the most dominant game in possession imaginable. The one downside to moving to a two-striker system is that, as the team gets more comfortable with longer passes, Josip Iličić becomes a bit redundant and drifts out of the game; against an opponent willing to press the Viola midfield, that could be a real problem.
Well, glad to see everything's back to business as usual. Fiorentina still sit in third, 4 points behind Juventus and ahead of Inter Milan on goal difference, with a trip to Genoa up next. Until then, forza Viola.