The referee for this one is Daniele Orsato, who’s historically not a friend of Florence. The Viola have won just 1 of their past 7 at the Franchi under his watch. Overall, they’re W9 D4 L12 when he’s the match official, which is hardly a promising record. He’s given just a single penalty this season, and also only shown one red card. Get ready for Genoa to be even more physical than usual.
The match will be played on Saturday, 28 January 2017, at 2 PM CET/9 AM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Although the Coppa Italia match against Napoli was a bit of a buzzkill, Fiorentina have been in fine form in Serie A in 2017, notching an impressive win against Juventus and a rout at Chievo Verona and have pushed up to 8th in the table with a game in hand. If they want to qualify for Europe next year, they’ll need to keep winning, especially those matches in which they’re favored.
Paulo Sousa will be without goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski (knee) centerback and captain Gonzalo Rodriguez (hamstring). He’s gone back the to 3-4-2-1 formation with which he found so much success last season, so expect him to stick with it here, rather than revert to the 4-2-3-1. Sebastien de Maio or Carlos Salcedo may well get a chance in the center of the defense, and Josip Ilicic is expected to return to the starting lineup, which means Borja Valero will drop deeper into midfield at the expense of either Milan Badelj or Matias Vecino.
While Sousa generally keeps his personnel decisions close to the vest and usually springs a surprise or two when the lineup is released, his tactics probably won’t chance too much. He’ll want his side to press high in the early stages, then probably sit back for the remainder of the opening half before coming out of the break with a renewed vigor, as we’ve seen countless times.
It’s all gone rather pear-shaped for the Grifoni of late; they’re W0 D1 L4 over their past 5 matches, with the draw coming against lowly Crotone and a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Cagliari. Now languishing in 15th in Serie A, we’ve heard a lot of noise about manager Ivan Juric being a likely candidate for the chopping block due to some this run of bad results.
The front office certainly hasn’t made the craggy-faced Croatian mister’s job easier, as they’ve sold striker Leonardo Pavoletti, winger Lucas Ocampos, and midfield boss Tomas Rincon this winter, although they’ve added striker Mauricio Pinilla; attacker Adel Taraabt; and midfielders Danilo Cataldi, Leonardo Morosini, and Oscar Hiljemark. Goalkeeper Mattia Perin (knee), centerback Davide Biraschi (calf), and midfielders Miguel Veloso (unknown) and Luca Rigoni (knee) are all out as well, and Cataldi is suspended for yellow cards.
Juric will continue to trot out the 3-4-3 that he’s used all year. Hiljemark will probably be forced into service in the middle of the pitch with Isaac Cofie. With the pace on the wings, this is a team designed to break quickly through the wide areas and hit the knockout blow. It’s also worth noting that this is a very physical team, second in the league in bookings with 54 and tied for first in expulsions with 7.
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Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
This feels like a pretty good bounce-back game for Fiorentina. With Genoa’s penchant for fouling, backing them to end with fewer than 11 seems smart; let’s go 3-1 to the good guys behind a Berna penalty, a Kalinic strike, and an Ilicic thunderbastard, with Simeone pulling one back for the visitors.