Having just come from behind to dispatch Sassuolo at the Mapei for a short-handed 3 points, Fiorentina return to the friendly confines of Florence for a clash with Parma. In their 63 meetings since 1929 (that was in Serie B), the Gigliati hold a W23 D21 L19 advantage, including a record of W3 D4 L3 over their past 10 clashes; in this fixture last year, the Crociati came away with a 0-1 win due to a Gerson own goal as both sides scrapped for a win to assure Serie A survival.
The referee for this one is 35-year-old Luca Pairetto of Nichelino (a suburb of Turin). In 4 Serie A matches this year, he’s handed out 26 yellow cards, 2 red cards, and 2 penalties. The Viola are undefeated in 3 matches under his direction, earning 2 wins and a draw; the most recent fixture he worked with Fiorentina was last year’s crazy 1-4 win at SPAL (the final win of the season), which featured some pretty wild VAR scenes which, to his credit, Pairetto got right.
The match will be played on Sunday, 3 November 2019, at 4:00 PM GMT/12:00 PM EST at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence. It’s going to rain for this one. A lot. Just sheeting down. It’ll be windy, too, so conditions could be a major factor here.
You know, things are starting to come around. Fiorentina have 10 points from their past 5 matches, boosting them to 8th in the league with 15 points, just 3 off Napoli and the final Europa League spot in 6th. Although the club hasn’t exactly looked dominant for many matches, it’s showed a lot of promise and is looking to build on some modest successes this season to push on for bigger things. It’s an outfit on the rise, or at least that’s what we’re telling ourselves.
Manager Vincenzo Montella will be without LW Franck Ribery (suspension), CB Martín Cáceres (hamstring), and RB Pol Lirola (thigh). That might push him to switch shapes to the 4-3-3 that led to the midweek win over Sassuolo, given that the team seems better suited for that shape personnel-wise at the moment. That could mean another chance for Lorenzo Venuti at rightback with Riccardo Sottil on the wing. The real question is at striker, where Kevin-Prince Boateng and Dušan Vlahović will both hope to start.
With two backups in the heart of defense, expect Fiorentina to work the channels industriously while maybe looking to bypass a tough-as-boots midfield, although Gaetano Castrovilli is likely to win a hatful of free kicks in the middle. Set pieces could also be a big factor here, too, as Germán Pezzella and Nikola Milenković are both menacing targets from dead ball situations. But this one feels like it’ll be won in the channels: if the Viola can get the ball to Chiesa and his running mates in space, they should win the match handily. Otherwise, the Crociati could well scrape a result.
The Crociati sure look like they’re back to stay in Serie A. After scraping just over the trapdoor last year, they sit in 9th place in the league with 13 points, just one place behind the Viola. Over their past 5, they’ve clawed their way to 7 points, including a 5-1 thumping of Genoa, a 2-2 draw at Inter Milan, and a 0-1 loss to Hellas Verona; what we’re saying is that this is not a particularly consistent team, equally capable of sparkling and miserable displays.
Manager Roberto D’Aversa has a bunch of significant absences: CB Robert Gagliolo (hamstring), CB Bruno Alves (hamstring), RB Vincent Laurini (shoulder), CM Alberto Grassi (knee), CM Gianni Munari (suspension), RW Luca Siligardi (suspension), CF Roberto Inglese (ankle), and CF Andreas Cornelius (hamstring) are all limited or out. That’s forced him to use a 4-3-1-2 this year with pacy wingers Gervinho and Yann Karamoh up top.
This is a D’Aversa team, so you’d expect it to be well-organized defensively, but it’s been a bit of a sieve at the back with the starting centerbacks out. The strength is a tough, disciplined midfield; Juraj Kucka is probably the most creative player in the engine room if that’s any indication. The fullbacks will get forward as well, but the real threat is the pace and skill of the strikers, who can produce magic or madness with equal ease.
How to watch
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Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
In Ribery’s absence, this is a Fiorentina team that’s designed to play either on the counter or when Castrovilli spins past his marker in the middle and leads a break. Against a side like Parma that wants to defend deep and grind out results, that’s an approach that doesn’t really indicate success. However, the makeshift Crociati defense is mighty vulnerable and Chiesa should have his way with it whenever he gets the ball, especially attacking space behind some the fullbacks, who like to get forward. We’ll call it a 2-0 win to the hosts, with a Pezzella header opening the scoring and a late Chiesa finish on the break providing some insurance, with a lot of scrappy play in between. We’re backing a fair number of cards from Pairetto, too.