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Fiorentina vs Arsenal: Preview

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Two of the International Champions Cup’s undefeated sides meet in a true clash of the titans in Charlotte.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Fiorentina v Arsenal
Okay, it won’t be quite this cool, but it’ll still be cool.
Photo by Mike Egerton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Fresh off an unexpectedly impressive display against Mexican side Chivas of Guadalajara, Fiorentina resume their International Champions Cup campaign against an even bigger side in Arsenal (they’re from London if you’re not familiar). The last time these two met in a tournament was the Champions League in 1999, when the Viola won at the Highbury and drew at the Franchi en route to advancing from the Group of Death (Barcelona, Arsenal, Fiorentina, and AIK) before failing to advance in a group with Manchester United, Valencia, and Bordeaux (the Champions League used to be a lot weirder). For those keeping score at home, that makes Fiorentina undefeated against Arsenal in competitive games.

The match will be played on Saturday, 20 July 2019, at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 10:00 PM GMT/6:00 PM EST. The forecast calls for a blazing hot day with a chance of thunderstorms, so it’s going to be very humid, which will likely impact play considerably. Also, USWNT star/president of the US Megan Rapinoe will be in the stadium, just in case you needed extra incentive to show up or at least tune in.

Fiorentina

Well, we can safely say that everything that went wrong for the Viola last year is completely fixed, as they’ve now won 2 games in a row. Sure, Val di Fassa and a badly misfiring Chivas maybe don’t represent the greatest challenge, but if you’re a Viola fan, you take what you can get and we’re done talking about that now, okay, Sheryl?

There is a chance that we’ll see some or all of Federico Chiesa, Germán Pezzella, Nikola Milenković, and Cristiano Biraghi in this one, but we’ve also heard rumors that Vincenzo Montella is going to start a lot of the youth players; therefore, don’t be surprised to see extended appearances from the likes of Luca Ranieri, Gaetano Castrovilli, Szymon Żurkowski, Dušan Vlahović, and Tòfol Montiel.

Arsenal

The Gunners were sharp in a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich to open their ICC campaign, largely dominating when their starters were in and snatching a victory through a late goal from Eddie Nketiah. Just like Fiorentina, Arsenal aren’t exactly in midseason form—a lot of the regular starters are still working their way back from summer fitness—and the team is also taking a long look at younger players in lieu of splashing in the transfer market.

Manager Unai Emery, it’s rumored, will trot out a bunch of academy players to start with, with the more established players perhaps making second-half cameos. Arsenal’s academy has produced some real talents of late, and this is exactly the place to evaluate them, so we could have at least 45 minutes of what’s basically a Primavera match. Still, this is #%&$ing Arsenal we’re talking about; how cool is it that Fiorentina get to play them, no matter who’s beneath the shirts?

How to watch

TV: Looks a bit patchy, to be frank. DAZN or BeIn may have it depending on where you are, so check the full international listings here.

Online: Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.

Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department

Forza Viola!