Fiorentina have an all-time record of W30 D21 L21 against the Rossoblu, including a W4 D3 L3 in their last 10. The ref for this one is Carmine Russo, under whose watch the Viola have historically excelled with 15 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses. The match will be played at the Stadio Sant’Elia in Cagliari on Sunday 23 October at 2:00 PM CST/9:00 AM ET.
After a year-long stint in Serie B, the Sardinians are flying high in 8th place, despite a -1 goal differential. They’ve turned the Stadio Sant’Elia in particular into a fortress, as they’ve won 3 and drawn 1 at home. They’re also fresh off a 1-2 win at Inter Milan, so this is clearly a team that’s coming into its own.
Manager Massimo Rastelli has done a brilliant job with his club. He sets out in a 4-3-1-2, with his fullbacks given license to dart forward. The team usually attacks in one of two ways: balls in behind for Marco Sau and the trequartista to chase, or crossing in for target man Marco Boriello. They tend to be vulnerable in the wide areas and concede a lot of crosses, trusting that Bruno Alves and company will deal with anything coming into the box.
Rastelli does have some selection headaches, though, with star trequartista Joao Pedro (broken leg), midfielder Artur Ionita (leg), and winger Diego Farias (calf) all unavailable. Boriello is dealing with a fever and may also be unavailable, in which case Federico Melchiorri would step in for him. Also keep an eye out for a sizable former Viola contingent comprised of goalkeeper Marco Storari, rightback Luca Bittante, and midfielder Gianni Munari.
Fresh off a 1-3 win at Slovan Liberec in the Europa League, Paulo Sousa has probably felt the slightest easing of pressure off his shoulders. However, another listless performance in attack will surely result in the resumption of calls for his resignation, as Fiorentina have been genuinely terrible in the final third all year.
Sousa switched to a 4-man-backline against Liberec and seems likely to continue that, although his players were slow to adjust against the Czechs. Josip Ilicic is fully recovered from muscular fatigue and should start the match, while Cristian Tello should be an impact substitute around the hour mark. What the tridente will look like, though, is anyone’s guess: Sousa’s shown a willingness to use any permutation of strikers, playmakers, and wingers.
How to watch
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