Somehow there are still 5 more Serie A matches to go this year, and somehow Fiorentina are only three points off Milan and the final Europa League spot. While we might not even want to deal with the Europa League next year as this team gets ready to rebuild, I guess it’s nice to have something to play for?
Our opponents, Palermo, on the other hand, are playing for survival. A loss this weekend would mathematically eliminate them.
The final season of the Maurizio Zamparini era has not been a successful one, and the Rosanero are on the verge of a return to Serie B - a loss on Sunday would mean mathematical relegation. Zamparini’s entertainment value will be missed, although new President, U.S. born television personality Paul Baccaglini, is hardly the standard Italian oligarch himself.
When it comes to football, Palermo looks like a side resigned to their fate, having lost their last three matches. For the home side have any hope of staying up, they must win all their remaining fixtures and hope that both Crotone and Empoli fail to pick up any more points. Coach Diego Bortoluzzi, appointed April 11 under the suggestion of Francesco Guidolin, is the fifth coach of the season, following Davide Ballardini, Roberto De Zerbi, Eugenio Corini and Luis Diego Lopez.
Palermo have scored 27 goals and conceded 73, both good for second worst in the league, so it is difficult to say they have any particular strengths, although they did play Fiorentina to a close 2-1 loss when the two sides met in Florence in December.
As we all know at this point, Fiorentina has had an up and down season. The club remains in the race for a Europa League position, but drastic changes to the squad are expected this summer either way, with coach Paulo Sousa almost certainly gone, potentially to be replaced by Sassuolo’s Eusebio Di Francesco.
The Viola are coming off an exciting 5-4 win at home against beloved target Inter, where a brilliant performance from Matias Vecino and Khouma Babacar was almost undermined by some last minute defensive implosion and Mauro Icardi heroics.
Babacar has been in brilliant form, scoring 4 goals in his last 4 games, including a brace last week, and is up to 9 goals in 10 starts for Fiorentina this year. He should once again get a chance to prove himself following Nikola Kalinic’s failed appeal following his two match ban. Fiorentina will also be without Gonzalo Rodriguez and Nenad Tomovic, who remain injured. Rumors suggest Josip Ilicic will get the start ahead of Federico Bernadeschi, who has looked distracted recently as speculation about his future continue to pile up.
Palermo (3-4-3): Posavec; Sunjic, Gonzalez, Goldaniga; Rispoli, Bruno Henrique, Jajalo, Morganella; Sallai, Lo Faso; Nestorovski
Fiorentina (3-4-2-1): Tatarusanu; Sanchez, Astori, Salcedo; Chiesa, Vecino, Badelj, Maxi Olivera; Ilicic, Borja Valero; Babacar
Where to watch
TV: Check here for local options.
Online: Here is your list of legal, reliable options, includine beIN Sports in North America.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Fiorentina has a bad tendency of following up decent runs with unwatchable let downs, but Palemo looks mentally finished. I am going to guess that purple beats pink 2-1, with goals from Babacar and Ilicic.