Well, this is a bit different. 10th-placed Fiorentina head northwest to Liguria to take on league-leaders Genoa, which isn’t a sentence I ever expected to write. The Viola have dominated this matchup recently, managing a W5 D5 L0 in their last 10 against the Genovese. In fact, you’d have to go back to 28 October 2009 to find Genoa’s last win in this fixture. The referee for this matchup is slakas favorite Luca Banti, under whom Fiorentina have managed W3 D3 L4 in their last 10.
While they’re no longer Fiorentina Junior, Genoa are certainly profiting from a Fiorentina-esque squad rebuild. Having notched 3-1 wins against Cagliari and at Crotone, confidence will be high in their camp, but beating a couple of relegation candidates is a rather different proposition from hosting one of Serie A’s better sides.
Manager Ivan Juric has thus far favored a 3-4-3, using the raw speed of his wide players to club opponents into submission. The central midfielders are both rather reserved, leaving the attacking to the wingbacks and the front three. With a numerical disadvantage in the middle of the park, expect Genoa to focus on quick breaks down the wings before centering the ball for star striker Leonardo Pavoletti and wingers Olivier Ntcham and Lucas Ocampos, who tend to drift inside. Also worth mentioning is the fact that they’ve collected 6 bookings through two matches, half coming from a very physical backline.
After a dispiriting loss to Juventus and a grinding win against Chievo Verona, Fiorentina are badly in need of a good win to maintain their momentum. Captain Gonzalo Rodriguez returns to the lineup after missing Chievo match with an ankle issue, but Matias Vecino (hamstring) is expected to miss at least a couple more weeks. This should open the door for Sebastian Cristoforo, a more dynamic option than Carlos Sanchez, to make his first Viola appearance; Paulo Sousa, though, could prefer the Colombian’s defensive nous to the Uruguayan’s energy.
Although the summer was full of rumors that Sousa was going to change to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, it’s been 3-4-2-1 thus far. That uncertainty extends to the possible team the Portuguese mister could select, too: Sebastien de Maio, Hrvoje Milic, Carlos Sanchez, and Federico Bernardeschi could all start and no one would be surprised. The Viola should look to keep the ball and slow the tempo, as a more frantic match would better suit their opponents.
Genoa (3-4-3): Perin; Izzo, Burdisso, Munoz; Laxalt, Rincon, Veloso, Lazovic; Ocampos, Pavoletti, Ntcham
Fiorentina (3-4-2-1): Tatarusanu; Astori, Gonzalo, Tomovic; Olivera, Cristoforo, Badelj, Tello; Valero, Ilicic; Kalinic
How to watch
TV: Doesn’t look likely unless you’re in Italy—check Sky—but otherwise, glance at your BeIn channels just in case.
Online: Go here for a list of online (and legal) streams. As always, we’ll have a thread up for comments shortly before kickoff, and will follow along on Twitter (@Viola_Nation)as well. As a reminder, posting illegal streams puts you at risk of being banhammered.
Ted Memorial Blind Guess Department
Let’s call this one a 1-3 Viola win, with goals coming from Kalinic, Ilicic, and Gonzalo, while Ocampos beats Tomovic for a consolation effort.