It’s time for the Derby dell’Appennino, everybody! This clash between northern clubs Fiorentina and Bologna goes all the way back to 1928, and the two have played each other 140 times, with the Tuscans well in the lead: 52 wins, 45 draws, and 43 losses to their Emilian neighbors. In their last 10 Serie A meetings, the visitors are W6 D1 L3, scoring 15 and conceding 6. When these sides met earlier this year in Florence, it ended at 2-1 for the hosts in a rather uneven contest.
The referee for this one is Daniele Doveri. Under his watch, the Viola are W10 D1 L6, although the two he’s handled this year were both losses: 1-0 at Juventus and 1-2 at Sampdoria. In 11 matches this season in Serie A, he’s handed out 48 yellow cards, 2 red cards, and 2 penalties.
The match will be played Sunday, 4 February 2018, at 2 PM GMT/9 AM EST in the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in Bologna.
The Oscar Meyers are the definition of a steady midtable side these past three years under the leadership of Roberto Donadoni. They also gave Stefano Pioli his second chance in Serie A back in 2011, eventually sacking him two and a half years later. Anyways, the Rossoblu are in 12th place right now, just about where you’d expect, with a record of W2 L3 over their last 5. They’re a point behind their opponents despite having a -6 goal difference, grinding out results with a physical midfield and a pacy group of players on the wings in a 4-3-3.
Donadoni does have a few problems in his lineup for this one. Most notably, winger and captain Simone Verdi (hamstring) is absent for another month, which is a serious blow; the 25-year-old’s 6 goals lead the club. Keep an eye for Sebastien de Maio at the back as well, as the Frenchman joined the Veltri this summer. Up top, veteran Rodrigo Palacio has been his usual energetic self, and Juventus loanee Riccardo Orsolini could make an appearance as well to replace Verdi.
If you’re looking for a word to describe the Viola right now, shambolic is a good start, but probably doesn’t paint a complete picture of the misery. Over their past 5, they’re W1 D2 L2, including a humiliating 1-4 reversal to 19th-place Hellas Verona last week that saw the fans in the Curva walk out of the match in a protest that continued in the street outside the Franchi.
Stefano Pioli is now surely on the hot seat. On the plus side (?), he hasn’t lost any key parts of his squad, so he has consistency for this one. On the other hand, this squad has been responsible for all the terrible results thus far. Anyways, expect to see the usual XI, although Gil Dias may get a start after a goal last week, and Bruno Gaspar could return to the lineup after a horror-show from Vincent Laurini.
How to watch
TV: Check here, but nah.
Online: Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Well, since it can’t be worse than last week (right?), let’s call this one a 0-2 win for the visitors behind strikes from Giovanni Simeone and Jordan Veretout, with Marco Sportiello saving a penalty from Palacio to preserve an impressively energetic performance from the Tuscans.