Football is back at the Franchi, first up is Sampdoria. After the Blucerchiati’s 2-1 comeback win against newly promoted Benevento, they will be confident of securing a result in Florence. Meanwhile, Fiorentina are coming back off the defeats to Inter and Real Madrid, however, the latter showed much more promise.
Giovanni Simeone vs Matias Silvestre
New signing Simeone had a very promising introduction in last weeks display against Inter, it's expected that he’ll continue to lead the line. He’ll be up against a fellow Argentine in Matias Silvestre. The former Inter defender has almost played 100 games for Sampdoria. Being ten years younger, Simeone will have the edge when it comes to agility and speed. His biggest test however, will be to see what his finishing is like. He scored an impressive 12 goals last year in a struggling Genoa side. Against Inter he was an isolated figure, this time out with Fiorentina at home, there will be pressure on the team to push forward and attack. With the likes of Chiesa and Eysseric behind him, he’s going to get chances.
Simeone’s first goal for his new club will be crucial, not only for himself but if he can get it sooner rather than later it may just propel Fiorentina up the table. Also worth mentioning as a former Genoa player I'm sure he’d like to get one over his former rivals.
Valentin Eysseric vs Lucas Torreira
Valentin Eysseric was arguably Fiorentina’s best outfield player against Inter. I know, that's not saying a lot but he was one a very few who looked like he could create chances. With a tightly contested game expected it’s Eysseric’s job to create and it's predicted that he’ll be playing through the middle as he did in the first half against Real Madrid. Eysseric will be up against the diminutive Lucas Torreira. Standing at the 5ft6 Uruguayan is fierce competitor despite his size similar to Gary Medel. He’s a player who will do it all, he’s capable of protecting the defence while also being a deep lying playmaker. Torreira will be at the base of the attacks, lending the ball to his teammates such as Dennis Praet and Gaston Ramirez. It's a battle that could decide the game and Eysseric needs to find those pockets of space get in between the lines, so he can attempt to create or even have scoring opportunities himself.
Milan Badelj vs Gaston Ramirez
With Badelj returning to fitness and Carlos Sanchez struggling against Inter, it's likely Badelj will play the holding role. His job will be to deny new Samp signing Gaston Ramirez, who has returned to Italy following an unsuccessful spell in England. The Uruguayan has talent, no doubt about it but it’s his constituency which lets him down; on his day can he cause trouble for any opposition defences. He is known for his key passes and dribbling ability and even notched an assist in their opening day victory. With Badelj now staying in Florence he’s likely to partner Jordan Veretout in midfield. Also, as Sampdoria will be playing a narrow 4-3-1-2 it’s likely that a lot of the play will do through the middle meaning Badelj will be pivotal as the holding midfielder for Fiorentina.
Vitor Hugo vs Fabio Quagliarella
Vitor Hugo really did struggle against Inter last time out and comes up an inform Fabio Quagliarella. The experienced striker scored twice Benevento and will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday. It will be Quagliarella’s 20th appearance against Fiorentina and will be looking to add to his 5 goals he's scored over the years in this fixture. With Pezzella waiting for his league debut Vitor Hugo has to perform. Stefano Pioli needs to find out who his best centre back pairing is and it's safe to say one of them will be with Astori as he’s the captain. It’s intriguing to see if Hugo will grab his chance because there's certainly some competition in German Pezzella and Nikola Milenkovic who want to take his starting spot.
Stefano Pioli vs Marco Giampaolo
Pioli will be desperate for his first win of the season to come sooner rather than later. It’s likely to be a similar system with some subtle changes. Federico Chiesa will make a welcome return following suspension and Eysseric will play through the middle of the pitch behind Simeone. One added bonus is that with Gil Dias expected to play himself and Chiesa can swap wings throughout the match. Also, don’t be surprised if Chiesa operates off the left as he did for the Italy U21 side in the Euros. Marco Giampaolo’s side will go with a narrow system allowing them to play two up top, with a trio in midfield. Pioli needs to use the wingers and the full backs to great effect, especially if Chiesa and Gil Dias are used as inverted wingers giving Bruno Gaspar and Maxi Olivera license to roam down the wings.