Fiorentina failed in their attempts to become Winter Champions this evening after a 3-1 defeat to 10th placed Lazio. The Rome-based club have become somewhat of a bogey side for the Viola, with their last victory coming back in October 2012.
With Josip Ilicic suffering from some muscle fatigue, Mati Fernandez came into the side from the start, and Jakub Błaszczykowski stepped in for the suspended Federico Bernardeschi. "Bisogna spendere per vincere" – You need to spend if you want to win – was the familiar cry from the Curva Fiesole at the end of the game, as the fans recognised their team's typical trait of coming close to achieving something, only to fall at the final hurdle.
"We have to be realistic and do everything to maintain this form and rhythm in the league" Paulo Sousa said during his post match press conference, the coach then echoing those aforementioned chants as he add that "to do so however, I have always said, we need resources."
There is no doubt that in order to mount a serious challenge for a Champion's League place, Fiorentina's paper-thin squad needs to be reinforced in January. Next Sunday's game with Milan will now see key players Gonzalo Rodriguez suspended and Milan Badelj injured, and the distinct lack of quality waiting in the wings to replace them highlights just how few options Sousa has at his disposal.
The game with Lazio also served as a reminder that the Viola have been largely ineffective against stronger opposition, and there does not seem to be a plan B when their possession based style of play is broken down, The flurry of goals at the end of the second half was reminiscent of the 3-1 defeat to Juventus in December, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala killing off that game in the final ten minutes.
A wish list for new signings would perhaps be best accompanied by a January to do list for Fiorentina, that lack of variety in playing style and a lack of concentration have proven to be major impediments to success this season.