You read that subtitle correctly. When Fiorentina take the pitch at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Monday, it will be the first time that Franck Ribery is available since he was knocked out against Lecce on 11 November 2019. That’s nearly four months. As you can imagine, a lot has changed since then.
Back then, Ribery was working as a striker next to Federico Chiesa. With the rise of Dušan Vlahović and the acquisition of Patrick Cutrone, though, Giuseppe Iachini may be thinking that playing the Frenchman up top could lead to a bit of crowding among the crowding. From what we’ve heard, the solution has been using Ribery as a 10 behind the strikers in more of a 3-4-1-2 shape.
The problem, of course, is that using Ribery in the hole behind Chiesa and Vlahović against Brescia means that he’d have almost no space to operate. With Sandro Tonali and company minimizing the space between the lines, using a 10 feels like a losing proposition. Too, that 10 would be tasked with marking Tonali, and Franck probably isn’t suited for that sort of role.
So how would you adapt? Would you shoehorn Ribery in there anyways and assume that his natural quality will overcome everything else? Would you push him out wide, which would result in a numerical shortcoming through the center and completely destroy Iachini’s defensive structure (especially with Gaetano Castrovilli not a particularly defensive player in the best of times)? Do you leave him on the bench and introduce him as a supersub in case the Viola need a spark in the second half?
Where should Ribery start on Monday?
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Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose.