The 18th Match of the season for both teams will be played at Sardegna Arena in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. That means Fiorentina gets to do a little island hopping this Friday. With the Christmas holiday coming up some Serie A games are on Friday with the rest on Saturday. This means that Fiorentina is playing at 8:45 pm local Florence time and 2:45 pm Eastern Standard time. So if you have a full time job, and are not getting off early for Christmas in the United States you may be out of luck when trying to watch this match. Or just watch it at work like the rebels do (Viola Nation does not condone skipping out of work to watch la Viola, but if you do we probably are doing it with you).
Just to be redundant the match will be played on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 8:45 PM CET/2:45 PM EST, at Sardegna Arena in Cagliari.
Living on the island of Sardinia must be nice. There is no reason why this team should not attract some of the best talent in the world just for that fact. Well unfortunately for their fans they do not. Cagliari come in to this match with 17 points in the Serie A table and sit 14th in the league. To make matters more interesting their goal differential is -12. Just like many other teams Cagliari should not be taken lightly even though their statistics point to Fiorentina having a solid game.
Cagliari is coming off a rough loss to Roma last weekend. It was a 1-0 defeat that surely il Rossoblu want to have back. When a team of Roma’s stature is in your sights and you lose to them it gives extra motivation for the next game. This is especially brutal in the way they lost. Roma scored a stoppage time goal by Federico Fazio. This was a game where young goalkeeper Alessio Cragno looked brilliant.
Needless to say Gli Islolani are going to be coming out to take on a bigger club like Fiorentina. A player to keep an eye on is striker Leonardo Pavoletti. He has four goals on the season and will most likely man the top of the pitch. Another name to look out for is Joao Pedro. He is a Brazillian Midfielder with a flair for goal. Both of those players will be leading the attack from Cagliari. Also if Alessio Cragno is back in goal, he will certainly be coming to play against his home town team. Side not Cragno was born in Fiesole.
Coming off a tough draw against Genoa where neither team thought it was necessary to score a goal, Fiorentina hopes to bounce back against Cagliari. Keep in mind Genoa actually is lower in the table than Cagliari so this should be a fun one for the guys wearing purple. La Viola currently sit 9th in the standings with 23 points and a +7 goal differential. The goal differential proves that either they are scoring well or their goalkeeping has been well. Here is a hint, its the latter of the two. This is a perfect bounce back game for Fiorentina though.
The good thing is in the whole month of December they have not lost a game. The bad news is they have not really moved too far up the table. With key draws to Napoli and Genoa, Stefano Pioli will be trying to get his team back on track. The recent Coppa Italia win against Sampdoria gave fans a lot of confidence especially with the great showing by El Khouma Babacar and Jordan Veretout. These players will probably get a chance to show their skills again on Friday.
Stefano Pioli will most likely keep a similar lineup to his normal group because it has generally worked this season. Fiorentina fans will get to see Federico Chiesa on the wing and probably Giovanni Simeone back in the middle. No real injuries are keeping any players off the pitch and that is music to fans ears after some injuries kept players out earlier in the year.
Cagliari (3-5-1-1): Cragno, Pisacane, Andreolli, Romagna, Padoin, Cigarini, Ionita, van der Wiel, Joao Pedro, Pavoletti
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Sportiello, Vitor Hugo, Pezzella, Astori, Biraghi, Benassi, Badelj, Veretout, Chiesa, Simeone, Thereau
How to watch
This one will probably not be on any of your local TV stations but here is a list of reliable, safe streams.