So, things are bobbing along quite nicely for Fiorentina right now. La Viola are unbeaten in five, which apart from the cough 0-0 with SPAL cough, is pretty decent. Pioli’s side are looking cohesive to the point where the side were well worth their two draws with Lazio and Napoli which is no mean feat. Fiorentina’s recent league form against the Rossoblu however isn’t that impressive; they have only won one in their last six meetings, four of which saw Genoa and Fiorentina share 4 red cards evenly.
The match will be played on Sunday, 17 December 2017, at 2:00 PM GMT/11:00 AM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence.
As previously mentioned, steadily slowly and surely Pioli is moulding this current crop of newbies together. As we fast approach the midway point, and considering the circumstances Pioli inherited at the club, it would be harsh to award him anything less than a B+. Some stinking results to Crotone and SPAL very much compound the nature of this season for Fiorentina, one which was always going to be about for re-identifying and re-defining themselves.
The man, the myth, the legend that is Jordan Veretout’s wonderful display midweek against Sampdoria saw him net two penalties to give Viola the 3-2 win, and his form in particular has been a bright spot. After being banded across the English channel he has finally found his home in Florence and his partnership with Marco Benassi and Milan Badelj is really beginning to look solid.
Defensively, a Gaston Ramirez penalty and a dodgy offside trap saw Edgar Barreto slot the ball into the net to clinch Sampdoria’s consolatory two goals, and despite some terrifyingly close calls against Napoli, the boys aren't looking too bad. There is a tangible feeling of ‘he’s getting there’ about Pioli’s work with the squad now, little rotation and a settled camp bodes well going forward into 2018. I have just realised that I could look really, really silly for writing all this after Adel Taarabt scores a perfect hat trick tomorrow...
The Rossoblu come into the fixture with confidence, having won two of their last three games. Two 1-0 wins against Verona and Crotone were more recently followed up by a 2-1 defeat to Atalanta. Their joint top scorer and assist-maker Adel Taarabt is the obvious danger man, and his nostalgic ‘would have been really good on FIFA 2012’ partnership with Goran Pandev has been effective.
Defensively, they have only conceded 3 goals in their last 4 fixtures, which indicates that Ballardini has tightened things up well. In terms of their strategy to nullify Fiorentina, their back three of Nicolas Spolli, Ervin Zukanovic and Armando Izzo will aim to clog the central areas to prevent the likes and Federico Chiesa and Cyril Thereau finding room.
Genoa have picked up 37 yellow cards and 3 red cards this season, which is the 3rd highest tally in the league. Expect a physical game, and one which could very much spill over.
How to watch
There is no UK TV coverage for this fixture, so check here for a list of reliable, safe streams.