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Fiorentina vs Sassuolo: Preview

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The Viola host a dejected and depleted Neroverdi side that’s still got the quality to be taken seriously.

ACF Fiorentina v US Sassuolo Calcio - Serie A
Masters of the can-can line.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

The Viola host a dejected and depleted Neroverdi side that’s still got the quality to be taken seriously.Fiorentina resume Serie A play on Monday (weird), and their opponent is another team that’s underperformed in the league. In their last 5 meetings, the Viola are W2 D2 L1 aginast Sassuolo. The referee for this one is Michael Fabbri, who’s only handled 2 Viola matches previously, including the 1-0 win over Chievo Verona earlier this year.

The match will be played on Monday, 12 December 2016, at 6 PM CST/1 PM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Fiorentina

Well, the roller coaster ride continues. A surprisingly tense match at Qarabag saw the Viola win their Europa League group. Coupled with the last-gasp win over Palermo last week, this hardly looks like the free-flowing, sparkling team that Vincenzo Montella developed. Instead, this is a gritty squad that can grind out results in a nearly Mihajlovician manner.w

Paulo Sousa will still be missing Hernan Toledo, but should have the rest of the squad at his disposal. He’ll probably return to his strongest XI after rotating the side against Qarabag, so we should see Borja Valero, Nikola Kalinic, Carlos Salcedo, Cristian Tello, Josip Ilicic, and (sigh) Hrvoje Milic return.

Sassuolo

It’s been a season to forget for the Neroverdi. The former darlings of Serie A have slipped all the way to 15th in Serie A, and they’ve only won one of their past five games—a 3-0 win last week against lowly Empoli. They’ve also already been eliminated from the Europa League, where they sit in last place. Their final match in their inaugural continental campaign ended yesterday, as the match was delayed due to impenetrable fog, with nary a whimper: a humiliating 0-2 loss to Genk.

Manager Eusebio di Francesco can’t bear all the blame, though, as he’s missing a number of players he’d like to have: centerback Timo Letschert (shoulder), midfielders Davide Biondini (Achilles) and Alfred Duncan (knee), and wingers Matteo Politano (ankle) and Domenico Berardi (knee). The last is the biggest loss, since the 22-year-old winger has been a revelation this season, and his replacement looks to be (wait for it) Alessandro Matri. Nevertheless, di Francesco will set out his usual 4-3-3, packing the middle with scrappy grinders and hoping for inspiration from star Gregoire Defrel.

Possible lineups

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How to watch

TV: BeIn Sports has this one, so check your listings.

Online: Here is a list of free, legal, and safe streaming options.

Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department

What with the injury list Sassuolo’s carrying, it seems like the good guys should handle this one alright. Let’s call it a 2-1, with Kalinic and Ilicic scoring and Defrel pulling back a late consolation.