Seven months is a long time in football. A long time. So long in fact, that Kevin-Prince Boateng played for three different clubs over that same amount of time. Imagine being a perennial top-flight club and not winning a game in the league for seven months. That would be crazy, right?
Until Fiorentina’s narrow 2-1 victory over Sampdoria this past Wednesday, they hadn’t won a single game in Serie A since February 17th—just over seven months ago. Only two players in the starting XI from that 4-1 victory over SPAL still start in Vincenzo Montella’s 3-5-2 today (Federico Chiesa and Nikola Milenković), and only two others are still even on the team (Federico Ceccherini and Marco Benassi—il Capitano was probably injured or suspended for this one). Even further, Stefano Pioli would continue to manage Fiorentina for another two months before his eventual resignation in April, and rumors of the Della Valle brothers selling the club wouldn’t start showing up until early May. The Fiorentina of seven months ago is nearly unrecognizable to the Fiorentina of today—aside from the fact that we still wear green jerseys sometimes. I have no answers for that one.
Weird kits aside, things are finally starting to look up for Rocco Commisso’s pet project. Let’s take a look back at Fiorentina’s historic 18-game winless streak, and pray that we never have to sit through that kind of mediocrity again.
February 24, 2019: Fiorentina 3 - 3 Inter Milan: You may remember this as the match where Fiorentina scored the tying goal in the eleventh minute of extra time, courtesy of Jordan Veretout from the penalty spot. The decision was... questionable, to say the least—but we were glad to come out of there with a point. This was also the match where Luis Muriel scored an absolute rocket of a free kick, so there was plenty to remember about this one. Quite ironically, this draw extended Fiorentina’s unbeaten streak in the league to seven games in a row.
March 3, 2019: Atalanta 3 - 1 Fiorentina: This one came off the back of a 3-3 draw against Atalanta in the first leg of the Coppa Italia, and La Dea had our number this time. Stefano Pioli came out with an experimental 3-4-3, and Gian Piero Gasperini punished the Fiorentina mister’s failed tactics.
March 10, 2019: Fiorentina 1 - 1 Lazio: We were actually quite disappointed with this result at the time, as we were really hoping to finish seventh in the league. Just in case you forgot, we ended up finishing sixteenth. That’s bad.
March 15, 2019: Cagliari 2 - 1 Fiorentina: After a scoreless first half, Cagliari put two goals past an uninterested Fiorentina defense. Federico Chiesa put one away later on but his heroics would be insufficient in the end.
March 31, 2019: Fiorentina 1 - 1 Torino: VN favorite Tòfol Montiel had his competitive debut in this one, but the ever-elusive three points remained out of Fiorentina’s grasp. The good guys had 23 shots to Torino’s 8, but this was only a precursor to the Viola’s finishing woes.
April 3, 2019: Roma 2 - 2 Fiorentina: A draw away at the Stadio Olimpico is nothing to scoff at; Fiorentina played well here. The midfield of Benassi/Veretout/Gerson/Dabo had a surprisingly strong game in passing and possession, and they really kept us in the fight. The Viola looked evenly matched against a Roma team that was considerably better on paper, but unfortunately we didn’t gain any momentum out of this result.
April 7, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 1 Frosinone: An awful home loss against a relegation team. Tito skipped the player grades on the recap for this match, instead opting to give the entire squad a collective F. That should tell you enough about how this one went. Stefano Pioli went on to resign two days later.
April 14, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 0 Bologna: Vincenzo Montella’s return to Fiorentina ended scoreless, but the team had 15 shots (6 on target) to Bologna’s 4 (1 on target). At the very least, the change in manager made the game a little more interesting to watch, just to see what would happen.
April 20, 2019: Juventus 2 - 1 Fiorentina: David Hancko started this one, which is cool. Fiorentina lost this one, which is not cool. Juventus only out-shot us 18 to 13, and Nikola Milenković had some nice awareness for our singular goal. We looked up-to-snuff in this one honestly, considering Juventus is a talented team and all. Unfortunately, this loss marked 9 winless matches in a row for Fiorentina.
April 29, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 1 Sassuolo: Youth player Nicky Beloko got some action here, but there was nothing good to come of this one. A continued pattern of not winning games and Federico Chiesa being Fiorentina’s only good player. Next.
May 5, 2019: Empoli 1 - 0 Fiorentina: At this point, the streak is well en route to being a cruel joke for anyone who still considered themselves a Fiorentina fan. Veretout gets a red, and we lose to a relegation team. Not good at all. Thankfully, we got Bartłomiej Drągowski back from them after Empoli’s latest stint in Serie A came to a close.
May 11, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 1 Milan: Just another sad home loss here. Çalhanoğlu sent all Fiorentina fans into a deep sadness that was never resolved until the final whistle blew and we were all allowed to stop watching.
May 19, 2019: Parma 1 - 0 Fiorentina: Fiorentina’s fifth loss in a row, edging perpetually closer to being relegated. Some questionable team selection here from Montella, deciding to start Simeone over Muriel. The only goal was an inadvertent own-goal from Gerson, and that bad luck was just a microcosm of how awful this whole streak was.
May 26, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 0 Genoa: Probably one of the absolute worst games any of us have ever watched, considering the circumstances. Both teams were clearly just playing not to lose, in a pathetic effort to keep their respective spots in the Italian top-flight. A miserable end to a miserable campaign.
August 24, 2019: Fiorentina 3 - 4 Napoli: This one was stolen from us, through-and-through. A completely blatant dive from Dries Mertens saw Napoli awarded an undeserved penalty, in addition to plenty of other VAR mishaps. Nonetheless, the new squad played incredibly admirably here.
September 1, 2019: Genoa 2 - 1 Fiorentina: Following the positive performance against Napoli, Fiorentina fell utterly flat here. This was really the only game so far this season where we’ve looked genuinely bad; there are just no excuses to be found here.
September 14, 2019: Fiorentina 0 - 0 Juventus: Another impressive performance from the boys in purple, but they still couldn’t capture the 3 points. This was the first match of Vincenzo Montella’s 3-5-2 with two false nines in Franck Ribery and Federico Chiesa, and he’s never strayed from it since. Should have won this one.
September 22, 2019: Atalanta 2 - 2 Fiorentina: This one just sucked. A wonderful performance early on from Fiorentina to go up 2-0, followed by an absolute collapse to allow Atalanta to score twice in the final 10 minutes. This was just a cruel and final reminder to Fiorentina fans to never be too comfortable.
And then, miraculously, we won. Despite the best efforts of the Fiorentina defense to collapse while a man up against Sampdoria, the winless streak ended on September 25, with a 2-1 win at the Artemio Franchi.
The fruits of Daniele Pradè, Vincenzo Montella, and Rocco Commisso’s collective labor are finally coming to fruition, as we celebrate our second consecutive victory. This whole streak was a wild, wild ride, but we made it through. Congratulations everyone, we’re still alive.
Let’s all agree to never go without a win for this long again.