Although Fiorentina's 90th birthday celebrations have been muted after an earthquake devastated central Italy, Sunday's home opener match against Chievo Verona will likely feature some club legends in the crowd for added pressure. Although it is hard to call the second match of the season a must win, this would be a good opportunity to get the year on track following last weekend's poor showing, but Chievo is no pushover.
Last weekend Fiorentina looked lifeless in the season opener against Juventus. Although some second half pressure enabled the scoreline to remain close, Juventus dominated possession and Fiorentina was passive and seemed reluctant to shoot. Paulo Sousa did little to encourage more attacking play while la Viola was down. This week they will need to be more aggressive.
Thankfully, there is some good news as Borja Valero is available again after missing the Juventus match with an ankle injury, along with new defensive signing Carlos Salcedo. The former will likely start if fit, considering how much the possession game struggled without him, while Salcedo, who had to fly back to Mexico in the middle of the week for bureaucratic reasons, will likely start on the bench in favor of veteran Sebastian De Maio, another recent reinforcement.
The bad news is that captain Gonzalo Rodriguez is out after picking up an injury last week, as are Mauro Zarate, who is still in Argentina due to family problems, and Giuseppe Rossi, who is finalizing a move to Celta de Vigo, which means Rossi will be unable to get the sendoff at home he deserves.
The Mussi Volanti are flying high following a 2-0 victory in Verona against Frank de Boer's Internazionale. Attacking midfielder Valter Birsa, who scored a brace against Inter, is in much better form than Fiorentina's starting Slovenian, while ex-Viola captain Dario Dainelli and cult hero Massimo Gobbi are both probable starters in the back line.
Chievo finished last season in 9th place and feel they can at least hit that mark again despite their limited budget. Coach Rolando Maran comes to Florence with confidence as they have their sights set on another bigger club, and while the crisis at Fiorentina is much more muted than at Inter, they remain a vulnerable target.
FIORENTINA: (3-4-2-1) Tatarusanu; Tomovic, De Maio, Astori; Bernardeschi, Vecino, Badelj, Alonso; Borja Valero, Ilicic; Kalinic
Chievo: (4-3-1-2) Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Cesar, Gobbi; Rigoni, Radovanovic, Hetemaj; Birsa; Inglese, Meggiorini
TV: It looks like this one will be unavailable in the UK, US, and Canada. Outside of continential Europe, this one will be difficult to watch. Check here for potential options.
Online: Well, Australian fans will be able to stream this via beIN Sports Connect Australia, the rest of us are out of luck.
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter, and you can also head over to our Facebook page.