Bartłomiej Drągowski—6.5: The Viola backstop was minimally involved, facing only three shots on target, with two coming in the final five minutes. There wasn’t much he could do on the goal, and, while this game will be remembered for Fiorentina’s late, late equalizer, it would never have been possible without a monster save on Destro’s breakaway while the rest of the team was still in shell-shock from falling behind.
Martín Cáceres—5: Adequate performance on the right side of defense, but failed to support the attack in any meaningful way and was late to react on the Genoa goal in providing cover for Milenković.
Nikola Milenković—6.5: Although he was caught slightly out of position on the Pjaca goal, he did make a very important block just a few minutes into the match on Sturaro and of course rescued Fiorentina from a disastrous defeat with his last-minute finish.
Germán Pezzella—6: Solid in the air as ever, the Argentine was more active and dangerous in the box then any attacking player, and it was his flick to Biraghi which helped set up the goal.
Cristiano Biraghi—6.5: Attempted an astonishing 17 crosses in total, even if only four of those could be categorized as accurate. That said, many of the best Fiorentina attacks began on his left flank and surely he deserved an assist in this match.
Sofyan Amrabat—5.5: Better in the second half when encouraged to get forward, and unlucky not to see his incursion which led to Bonaventura’s disallowed goal not count for anything, the ex-Verona man was still imprecise, losing the ball far too frequently and sending a glorious chance straight into the keeper’s arms.
Erick Pulgar—5.5: Didn’t have too much to do defensively and barely featured going forward in addition to a few free kicks that failed to trouble the Genoa defense at all.
Gaetano Castrovilli—6: Off injured just before halftime, the Italian was the liveliest of the bunch, switching flanks and serving two enticing balls into the area, the second a near-perfect setup Ribéry should have done much better with.
José Callejón—5: Invisible for the vast majority of the match and basically incapable of holding possession and combining with his back to goal, the Spaniard did manage two crosses into the box that could easily have led to goals were they not squandered by Bonaventura and Amrabat respectively. Seems like he can be dangerous as long as no defender is within 15 yards of him.
Dušan Vlahović—5: Managed to keep hold of the ball slightly better tonight, but still simply cannot buy a goal, missing twice from within six yards to keep Biraghi assistless, and seeing what would have been a clever—if he meant it—assist cancelled out by VAR.
Franck Ribery—4.5: Really not the Frenchman’s night as he was dispossessed a team-high four times and failed to beat anyone on the dribble. Per usual he was isolated in attack, which was only made worse by Castrovilli’s early exit.
Giacomo Bonaventura—4.5: On for Castrovilli, the Italian was unlucky not to have his goal stand, but was otherwise widely ineffective in addition to perhaps costing Vlahović a goal by getting in his way, and then putting Borja Valero in a tough spot, which would ultimately lead to the Genoa goal.
Valentin Eysseric—No rating: On for the last 15 minutes and hardly involved.
Patrick Cutrone—No rating: See above.
Borja Valero—5: On for the final 15 minutes, the veteran’s giveaway, despite being put in a tough spot as mentioned, led directly to the visitors’ goal.
Christian Kouamé—No rating: On in stoppage time, the striker was more involved in debates about the game’s final play than in the game itself.
Three things we learned
1. Dušan Vlahović is not the solution up top. He put himself in some decent positions tonight, but lacks that final bit of quality in the finishing department. Hold-up play, high work-rate, and good aerial ability are helpful, but at the end of the day, strikers will only be judged on goals. While there aren’t many better options on the bench, I’d rather see Patrick Cutrone get consistent minutes. Now that his contract was updated to remove the obligatory purchase clause, there is no minute or appearance restriction on the young Italian. He doesn’t possess the physical gifts of Vlaho or Kouamé, but he has a knack for scoring goals. He was the number one option at the end of last season and he played well en route to a top-10 finish. There are plenty of rumors swirling about the striker position, so we’ll see what temporary solution they can come up with.
2. There is no fight in this team. There was a lot of emotion when “The Mountain” saved Fiorentina’s blushes at the death, but that was more relief than pride. I have yet to see that anger and fire that so many other teams have when they aren’t playing well. I don’t expect Gattuso level intensity, but there really needs to be some pride. Get in your teammates face, get upset when you don’t receive the ball when you thought you should, go in hard for challenges. Not only are they a losing team in terms of results, but the players seem to have a losing mentality as well. I think most fans would be okay with this position in the table if the team was leaving everything on the pitch, but it seems like they aren’t. Pezzella and some of the leaders need to rally the troops and change the mindset or else relegation will be a real possibility.
3. Fiorentina rely too heavily on aging stars. You will never hear me talk ill of Franck Ribéry as he’s been nothing but class his entire career. The truth is that he just doesn’t possess the skill he once did. That’s not a knock on him, but just the harsh reality of being a 37 year-old winger who’s taken a beating over the years. Fiorentina always seem to pass the ball side-to-side and backwards until they can get Ribéry on the ball. That is not a winning formula and team’s have already stopped it. They need to bring him into the game during the build-up, they can’t just force it to him and pray. He definitely is still capable of moments of magic like his performance earlier this season against Inter, but they can’t overexpose his brilliance. Same goes for José Callejón, they are hoping every cross of his meets a head. They need to work on getting him the best position possible. At Napoli he thrived on those long diagonal balls into the box where he was able to shoot or play it to the middle. Instead of relying on them to win games alone (a problem Chiesa also struggled with), they need to put their older players in the best position to succeed.
NickyNutella’s MVP: Special shout out to Marco Palmieri doing the game today for ESPN+, he’s arguably the most underrated Serie A commentator in the world. ESPN needs to get Paul Visca and bring back the dream team from BeIN Sports.