Bartłomiej Drągowski- 5.5
The Dragon has been excellent for us all season, but there were some extremely nervy moments today. He made two nice saves on Ronaldo and Chiesa respectively, but it was his run-in with ex-Viola man Bernardeschi that will grab the headlines. Bart fumbled the ball and then he began to wrestle with Berna as both went down looking for a penalty. None was given and that was the correct call given that they both were fighting for the ball. Wasn’t his best performance for La Viola, but he made the saves he needed to and managed to keep a clean sheet in the process.
First, can we talk about the fact Igor is built like a brick house? The quarantine 15 his hitting me hard and I need whatever workout regimen Igor is on. Now back to your regularly schedule programming, Igor was very solid. Defended well when he needed to and even showed some skill by the corner flag. He hasn’t played much this season but having a left-footer on that side of the pitch really helped.
Nikola Milenković— 6.5
Another solid game from the Serbian International. Cleaned up a few messes like the Bart incident and was great in the air when defending set-pieces (as usual). Once Juve went down a man he started to push further forward and got in on the action offensively. He was helpful in that regard but didn’t do anything outstanding to make the grade higher.
Germán Pezzella— 6
Pretty quiet game from the captain, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to a massive match like today’s. Did his job well making vital interceptions and keeping the boys organized at the back. Making sure everyone keeps their intensity levels up when you’re up by a man is super important and the defense definitely did that today.
Martín Cáceres — 8
The ex-Juventus man was IMMENSE today for the boys in Purple. Playing at an unnatural RWB he was a force to be reckoned with both offensively and defensively. He was bombing down the right flank all night long making vital interceptions, clearances, and tackles. He has been shaky all season, but in the game we needed him to show up the most, he did just that. He added onto his stellar defensive performance with the game’s third goal where he followed the play for about 50 years and then stepped in from Alex Sandro to tap in a Biraghi cross. Phenomenal performance from the Uruguayan!
Cristiano Biraghi— 7
Strong performance from Biraghi today, especially on the offensive end. While his defending always leaves a bit to be desired, he put in a solid shift on the defensive end. Most of the scoring comes from his offensive exploits, where two of his passes led directly to Fiorentina goals. Great game from the Fiorentina LB.
Sofyan Amrabat— 6.5
Watching him and Borja play together is kind of trippy between their appearance and playstyle. There were times where they would pass it to each other, and it reminded me of that meme with two Spider-Mans pointing at each other . All jokes aside, this was one of the Moroccan’s better performances of the season. He dropped deep and kept the ball moving all around the pitch. He was especially effective when Fiorentina was a man up by providing cover on defense and starting counterattacks. He’s is starting to look like the player that picked defenses apart while at Verona.
Borja Valero— 5.5
It was great to have the Spaniard back in the starting line-up and he showed flashes of the old Borja. Moving the ball, drawing contact, and keeping the passing tempo high. However, he should’ve been sent off for a second yellow card after clattering into Rodrigo Bentancur. Prandelli wasn’t going to tempt fate and immediately subbed him off in favor of Pulgar.
Gaetano Castrovilli— 5.5
Had a chance to potentially kill the game early, but his low shot was stopped by Szczęsny. After some tantalizing football from the away side, Castro ended up with the ball at his feet and he tried to rifle one into the bottom corner only to be denied by the Polish international. Aside from that chance he was his usual self, attacking defenses and taking a beating. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt on that Cuadrado red card, but he put in a good performance for the winning side.
Dušan Vlahović— 8
I have been probably the most critical of the young Serb out of all the VN writers, but today he really stepped up. He got his goal in the 3rd minute after an excellent pass from Ribéry. He chased he ball into the box and took a heavy touch that took him away from the goal but was still able to dink it over the keeper to give Fiorentina the early lead. However, it wasn’t his goal that was most impressive to me, it was his work rate. He hustled every single minute he was on the pitch and provided a much-needed outlet for the defense. When Juventus began to come at the defense in waves, he was able to draw key fouls to break up the momentum and give the team a much-needed reprieve. He’s scored in a few consecutive games so let’s hope this is just the start of a tear for Dušan.
Franck Ribéry— 7
It was his immaculate through ball that set Vlahović free for the game’s first goal. The weight on that pass was pure class and it served as a reminder to fans who think the Frenchmen doesn’t have anything left in the tank. His passing was key in the second Fiorentina goal as well, having the composure to pass the ball out wide instead of forcing a shot into a sea of black-and-white jerseys. Another solid performance for the former Ballon d’Or finalist.
Erick Pulgar— 5.5
Brought in to ensure Valero didn’t get a second yellow card early in the second half. Did the usual Pulgar business helping to secure the victory and he did just that.
Lorenzo Venuti— No Rating
Engaged in a weird sequence with Danilo where both saw yellow. Other than that, he was pretty much quiet.
Christian Kouamé — 6
If there ever was a game where both strikers needed to step up, it was this one. Kouamé may have not scored the second goal, but it was his effort that caused the own goal. After being sprung off a throw-in, he put the ball right in the mixer to give Fiorentina a chance to score. While they didn’t score on the first sequence, it was his effort to track down the Biraghi cross that caused Bonucci and Alex Sandro to put the ball in their own net. Very solid cameo from the Ivorian international.
Giacomo Bonaventura — No Rating
Had a decent scoring opportunity towards the end to make it 4-0 but didn’t get enough pace behind the shot to trouble the goalkeeper.
Three Things we learned
1. Santa is a Fiorentina Fan. For those who celebrate Christmas in a few days there isn’t any better gift then ending this recent winless skid with a win against your bitter rivals in Turin. Not only does the victory taste sweet for Fiorentina fans, but also for the fans of the other title challengers like Milan, Inter, and Napoli. Also, after Juventus’ 3-0 win over Napoli was overturned, Juventus may very well be the only team to lose six points in a single day. Santa didn’t just give Fiorentina a win, he gave them a lopsided win over the reigning Scudetto champions. While there was some dubious refereeing and Juve was down to 10-men, it doesn’t matter. Wins are wins and wins against Juventus are even sweeter.
2. Prandelli’s starting to push the right buttons. A lot of us were excited when we heard that San Cesare was returning to the Franchi to try and right the ship after an abysmal start to the season. His first few matches were rough, but Fiorentina seems to have hit a nice stride right before the Christmas break. Draws against Sassuolo and Hellas Verona may not seem that impressive but taking 5 points from three teams in the top half of the table is very good for this team. Not to mention the fact that those three games came in a less than a week. While I know Prandelli isn’t the long-term solution, it seems as if the Mister is starting to get the players to buy-in to his game plans and the results are reflective of that. As Trevor reminded us in his last article, Fiorentina hadn’t won a game in Turin against Juve since Cesare was last in charge. That all changed today when he orchestrated a great strategy to help his side earn all three points.
3. Games are won on the flanks. When Fiorentina plays within the current system, games seem to be won and lost on the wings. Biraghi and Cáceres were super effective on both ends of the pitch today. Their effort and contributions directly impacted the outcome of the game and helped secure all three points. When Fiorentina is pushing bodies forward and getting good wide play, they are so much better. Having good width allows players like Amrabat, Ribéry, and Castrovilli to operate more freely in the middle of the pitch and create chances. When Chiesa departed for Juve there were questions on who would fill in on the right flank and it seems those questions were answered tonight.