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Fiorentina vs Chievo: Coppa Italia

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The Viola begin their domestic cup campaign against the Flying Donkeys.

ACF Fiorentina v AC ChievoVerona - Serie A
Face-off.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

After Carpi ended last year’s Coppa Italia run before it began, Fiorentina fans will certainly be hoping for better results this time out. After all, this is probably the competition in which the Viola have found the most success throughout their history, winning 6 Coppas (1939, 1960, 1965, 1974, 1995, 2000). As this is also the silverware that’s probably most up for grabs, it’d be nice to make a run and make the first addition to the trophy case since that last Coppa—and no, preseason tournies don’t count.

The Viola won the last meeting between these to back in August thanks to a Carlos Sanchez header off a Borja Valero corner in a match that the Gigliati dominated. In their last 10 meetings, Fiorentina are W8 D2 L0.

The referee for this one is Domenico Celi, who’s handled 17 Fiorentina matches in his career. The Viola are W14 D1 L2 in matches he officiates, which is a pretty positive return.

The match will be played on Wednesday, 11 January 2017, at 4:30 PM CST/11:30 AM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Fiorentina

After having the match at Pescara was snowed out, there’s plenty of concern that the hosts will still be pretty rusty, as this is their first match back from the winter break. Especially with their poor recent form—W2 D1 L2 in their last 5 matches, including a 3-match winless streak—the fans will be worried that this could be a classic trap game, especially with the Juventus fixture looming on Sunday.

Paulo Sousa will get Borja Valero (ankle) back from injury, and Nikola Kalinic will return from his thus-far-inconclusive trip to London for a meeting with Tianjin officials. Davide Astori (leg) hasn’t been included in the squad, though, so Sousa will either move Carlos Salcedo into the middle and stick Nenad Tomovic at rightback, or keep Salcedo out wide and bring in Sebastien de Maio. Borja should partner Matias Vecino in the middle unless he has any late setbacks, in which case Milan Badelj will fill in. It’ll be Federico Chiesa or Cristian Tello on the right wing.

Chievo Verona

The Donkeys are flying high indeed under manager Rolando Maran, sitting 11th in the table and just 2 points behind the Viola. They’re W2 D1 L2 in their last 5 and have reached this Round of 16 match by spanking both Novara and Virtus Entella 3-0. They’ve yet to make any big moves on the transfer market, but Maran will be pleased with his squad nonetheless.

Chievo usually sets out in a 4-3-1-2 formation, with 34 of that backline comprised of ex-Viola men in Alessandro Gamberini, Dario Dainelli, and Massimo Gobbi. The midfield mostly looks to keep its shape defensively, then hope to beat one man on the break and set mercurial playmaker Valter Birsa loose, who in turn will look to feed Riccardo Meggiorini in the channels or ageless wonder Sergio Pelissier lurking around the box.

Possible lineups

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How to watch

TV: Gol TV may have this one, but otherwise, you’re out of luck.

Online: Here is a list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.

Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department

Coming back from the break and minus Astori, it’s hard to see a clean sheet in the Viola’s future. But Chievo let Atalanta ship 4 past them last time out, so let’s call it a high-scoring affair in which Fiorentina triumphs 3-2 on the strength of goals from Kalinic, Ilicic, and Babacar, with Pelissier and Birsa reducing the arrears for the visitors.