In their last 10 meetings, Fiorentina have the slight advantage with W3 D5 L2. The referee for this one is Nicola Rizzoli, who’s handled 32 Viola matches in his career, resulting in a W11 D11 L10 record, most recently the 1-0 against AS Roma in which Milan Badelj scored the decisive goal.
The match will be played on Sunday, 6 November 2016, at 5 PM CST/12 PM EST at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Having sewn up Group J in the Europa League in style (assuming they can take a single point from their next two fixtures in the competition), Paulo Sousa can turn his attention back to Serie A, where he’s brought Fiorentina up to 8th place, with a game in hand on 7th-placed Atalanta and 2 on 6th-placed Torino, who both lead the Viola by 3 points.
Sousa will probably continue with the 4-2-3-1ish shape that’s brought him so much success recently. Carlos Salcedo and Maxi Olivera should start at right- and leftback, respectively, with Badelj returning to partner Borja Valero in the center behind an attacking band of Federico Bernardeschi, Josip Ilicic, and Cristian Tello. Nikola Kalinic will feature up top. Matias Vecino looks likely to miss out as he continues to recover from muscular fatigue.
Although they’re languishing in 14th place, the Blucerchiati have started to figure things out. In their last 5, they’re W2 D2 L1, with the loss coming against Juventus. Manager Marco Giampaolo, who bossed Tuscan side Empoli before Samp president/resident loony Massimo Ferrero disposed of Vincenzo Montella and hired him on, has built a gritty side that mostly gets attacking inspiration from its talented tridente.
Giampaolo will have to do without number one Emiliano Viviano (wrist), leftbacks Daniel Pavlovic (knee) and Stanley Amuzie (knee), defensive midfielder and captain Angelo Palombo (back), midfielder Carlos Carbonero (knee), and forward Antonio Cassano (suspension). With so many absences, expect him to instruct his tricky front three to spring into attack as quickly as possible while the midfield mostly stays put in front of the defense.
With Viviano out, Lorenzo de Silvestri is the only former Viola player on the roster, although Dennis Praet nearly joined this summer and Karol Linetty (who’s played against Fiorentina previously with Lech Poznan) and Luca Cigarini have been close to signing on in the past as well.
How to watch
TV: Sky Calcio 2 in Italy. BeIn in across Asia and Northern Africa. ESPN 2 in Latin America. Looks like no dice elsewhere.
Online: Here is your list of non-Skynet and fully legal streaming sites.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Samp’s defense has been quite shaky, so let’s say 2-1 to the hosts with goals from Kalinic and Berna, with Muriel reducing the arrears late.
Stay tuned for match-day coverage, and Forza Viola!