Yes, Fiorentina still play in Serie A. You may have forgotten that since it’s been 4 weeks since the Viola last had a league fixture, as their trip to Pescara was snowed out. Instead, they get to start the second half of their campaign against Juventus (boooo). In their last 10 matches against Newcastle Junior, the good guys are W1 D2 L7. But then again, there’s always this.
The referee for this one is Luca Banti, last seen suspending the Genoa match. For Fiorentina he’s reffed 25 matches, resulting in 12 wins, 6 draws, and 7 losses. He’s also given the Viola just one penalty in his career.
The match will be played on Sunday, 15 January 2017, at 7:45 PM CST/2:45 PM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
After knocking Chievo Verona out of the Coppa Italia in a midweek clash, the Viola are 1 for 1 in 2017. Their league form, though, is less impressive; they’re W2 D1 L2 from their last 5. It’s been insipid stuff, too, as Fiorentina haven’t been scoring much and look as vulnerable as ever on the break.
Paulo Sousa will probably welcome back Davide Astori (leg) and Borja Valero (ankle), which is good news for everyone. Expect him to field his first XI, with all the big names getting out there. The only question mark is on the right wing, where Cristian Tello may step in for Federico Chiesa, who could be worn out from Coppa Italia duty.
In what’ll doubtless be a typically fiery clash, Sousa may instruct his charges to press forward from the start and hope for an early goal. Alternatively, he could opt to sit back and try to soak up pressure, then start attacking more as the Juvenuts begin to press forward and look for a goal.
Ugh. It’s business as usual for the villains. After knocking warm and cuddly Atalanta out of the Coppa, the emotionless robot that is Juve prepares for another Serie A match. They’ve won 4 of their last 5 and lost the other to Genoa, although they did lose the Supercoppa to AC Milan in there too. They remain utterly loathsome.
Massimiliano Allegri will be without centerback Mehdi Benatia (AFCON), rightbacks Dani Alves (tibula) and Stephan Lichsteiner (suspended), leftback Alex Sandro (leg), and midfielders Mario Lemina (AFCON) and Federico Mattiello (nose). Given his lack of options at rightback, he could be forced to switch to a 3-5-2 shape from his usual 4-3-1-2, which would probably mean ex-Viola star Juan Cuadrado will start.
How to watch
TV: If you have RAI, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
Online: Here is a list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Ugh. I don’t even wanna. Let’s call it a 2-1 upset win for the Viola with Ilicic, Dybala, and Gonzalo on the scoresheet. Now let’s not talk about it anymore, because this is already depressingly optimistic.