After two successive victories over Hellas Verona and Bologna, Fiorentina’s season looks back on track. What would be ideal now would be for Fiorentina to extend their winning streak beyond two games. Standing in their way, however, is quite a formidable side. Juventus sit second in the table behind Napoli on goal difference. It’s going to be quite the test for the Gigliati to come away with anything from this one.
This game is steeped in hatred. It’s not your typical rivalry; Florence and Turin are in fact 267 miles apart. This rivalry is based on league titles lost, refereeing decisions, UEFA Cup finals and of course the sale of Roberto Baggio. It’s fair to say it's not a friendly rivalry.
Things are looking positive in Florence. With two wins in a row and sitting in the top half of the table, things are on the up. Pioli looks to have almost found a settled lineup, and with Valentin Eysseric coming back, he’ll have added depth and quality going forward. Pioli, in fact, has selection problems. Cyril Thereau, who was underwhelming to say the least against Bologna, will struggle to regain his place. Gil Dias will be first in line to replace the Frenchman and could be a real asset on the counter-attack with his pace.
Giovanni Simeone will no doubt lead the attack and hope to improve upon his solitary goal this season. One of the greatest positives so far is that there is now a settled defense. Germán Pezzella, Cristiano Biraghi, and Bruno Gaspar all look like smart acquisitions to the back four. Along with Marco Sportiello in goal, only one goal conceded in the past two fixtures is very good going.
With the percentage stats going to be in favour of the home side, Fiorentina’s biggest challenge will be getting the ball in Juve’s final third as much as they can. This makes the job of Jordan Veretout and Milan Badelj key. They need to be the conductors of the team. It's vital they manage possession so carefully and make use of it effectively so they can so they can get the ball to the likes of Chiesa and Simeone.
We all know how good Juventus are and they don't look like slowing down this season. Their main man this year is Argentine Paulo Dybala, who been in scintillating form so far, averaging a goal every 38 minutes and eight in four games. If Fiorentina are to have any joy they need to stifle the diminutive forward. Fortunately for the hosts, they have such a plethora of attacking talent at their disposal that the likes of Federico Bernardeschi (still not okay with him being there) and Douglas Costa not able to get in the team.
Juventus are unbeaten this season in Serie A, having only suffered defeats to Lazio in the Supercoppa final and to Barcelona in the Champions League. The Bianconeri have only conceded three goals this season and will no doubt line up similarly to their previous 3-1 win to Sassuolo. Former Viola player Juan Cuadrado is also expected to feature on the right, along with Dybala and Mario Mandzukic playing behind Gonzalo Higuain.
Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Sportiello; Bruno Gaspar, Pezzella, Astori, Biraghi; Veretout, Badelj; Chiesa, Benassi, Gil Dias; Simeone
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Sandro; Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuaín
How to watch
TV: If you're in the UK and have BT sport, it's your lucky day. It’s on BT sport 3 at 7:45
Online: Here is a list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Going to go for the optimistic approach for this one and say a 2-2 Fiorentina comeback. Goals from Chiesa and a thunderbolt from 25 yards courtesy of Giovanni Simeone to equalize. As for the enemy Higuain will bag a brace in the first half before a great Viola fight back.