Fiorentina head up to Genoa having not lost a match in Serie A since the November 5 home loss against Roma, 9 matches ago. This isn’t quite as impressive as it sounds when you consider most of those results have been draws, but it does suggest the Viola are hard to break down, even if the results aren’t always pretty.
I Blucerchiati on the other hand, are coming off a bad loss against Benevento and are on a generally poor run with three losses in their past five games. Nevertheless, Marco Giampaolo’s side remains in sixth place with two more points than Fiorentina and is arguably the more talented team, not to mention one who would love nothing more than to turn around their form by ending Fiorentina’s unbeaten streak.
This match will be played on Sunday, January 21, 2017 at 3:00 PM CET/9:00 AM EST at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa.
After a strong start where I Blucerchiati showed it had some firepower, including a win against Juventus in November, Giampalo’s Sampdoria has stumbled lately, suffering league losses to Sassuolo, Napoli, and Benevento, not to mention a loss to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia.
Although Sampdoria has played cautious recently, they are overall the more attacking side in this match, with 36 goals scored this year, including 12 by veteran Fabio Quagliarella and 6 by Colombian international Duvan Zapata. Behind them is Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Ramirez, having a strong year, backed by the young international spine of Dennis Praet, Lucas Torreira, and Karol Linetty, with Paraguayan veteran Edgar Barreto available.
In defense, Jacopo Sala is suspended, however they have available numerous Serie A veterans including Matias Silvestre and former Fiorentina target Ivan Strinic, with famed Fiorentina fan Emiliano Viviano between the sticks.
As explained above, Fiorentina has not lost in 9 matches, an impressive accomplishment for Stefano Pioli’s rebuilding side, although these results have probably not won over many new fans, including plenty of 0-0 and 1-1 draws, with the latter result most recently achieved against both Milan sides. Nevertheless, for better or worse this new Fiorentina identity has enabled them to grind out results against stronger sides, and have previously beaten Sampdoria 3-2 in the Coppa Italia about a month ago.
This time around will be an even bigger test however, as they travel to Genoa without captain Davide Astori and Jordan Veretout, both of who are suspended, while Cyril Thereau has missed training due to an injury and is doubtful. Without Astori, Vitor Hugo will be likely be tested in central defense alongside the increasingly established German Pezzella.
Without Veretout, probably the strongest midfielder this season, Fiorentina may struggle to control the match, and will likely turn to the more defensive minded Carlos Sanchez to play alongside Marco Benassi and Milan Badelj. Up front, if Thereau is out, Pioli is likely to turn to Gil Dias to play alongside Giovanni Simeone and Federico Chiesa, as the cautious tactician does not appear to have much faith in the other options available.
Probable line ups
Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic; Linetty, Torreira, Praet; Ramirez; Quagliarella, Duvan Zapata
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Sportiello; Laurini, Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Biraghi; Benassi, Badelj, Sanchez; Chiesa, Simeone, Gil Dias
How to watch
Odds are you won’t be able to find this one on TV, however for anyone in the U.S. and Canada, it will be streamed legally through beIN Sports Connect, also available with fuboTV. Check here for local options.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
I’m going to predict the streak lives on with another 1-1 draw, with goals potentially from Chiesa and Ramirez.