Remember when resuming calcio felt like a good idea? Me neither. Anyways, Fiorentina head north to Parma in search of their first win since Feburary. The Viola are W23 D22 L19 in their 64 meetings against the Crociati dating back to their first clash in 1929’s Serie B, including a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture. If that feels like an outlier, keep in mind that the Gigliati are just W2 D5 L3 against the Gialloblu in their last 10 meetings.
The match will be played on Sunday, 5 July 2020, at 5:30 PM GMT/1:30 PM EST, at the Stadio Ennio Tardini in Parma. The forecast calls for another punishingly warm day (you know, because it’s summer), so expect more cooling breaks and sluggish play.
With a blowout win over Genoa and competitive losses against Inter Milan and Hellas Verona since the restart, it’s been pretty much as expected for the Ducali. They sit in a comfortable 10th place with 39 points. While they’re 6 behind Napoli and the final European spot, they can take pride in their mid-table solidity as a competent, professional side with an established identity.
Manager Roberto d’Aversa deserves a lot of that credit. He’s created a tough, pragmatic side that lines up in a 4-3-3 and looks to play almost exclusively on the break. Despite missing top striker Roberto Inglese, Andreas Cornelius has filled in spectacularly with 3 goals and 2 assists over the past 3. The dangermen, though, are wingers Gervinho and Dejan Kulusevski. The former, even at 33, is all about pace and will get in behind the defense at any opportunity. The latter drops deeper and more central, picking up the ball and driving forward before shooting or playing the killer pass.
This Parma side is pretty basic, but it’s extremely good at what it does. Fiorentina won’t want to push very high up the pitch and open itself to Gervinho’s threat over the top, but also won’t want to sit too deep and invite Cornelius’ aerial ability and the various dangerous shooters from distance. The key will be closing down Kulusevski and keeping tight to Gervinho while not giving up long shots to the midfield, which sounds simple enough but is a lot harder to execute.
The resumption of Serie A has been rougher for Fiorentina than any other team in the division. Over their past three, the Viola have earned a solitary point, and while they may have deserved something against Lazio, the performance against Sassuolo more than cancels that out. Still on 31 points, they sit 14th in the table. That’s 6 above Lecce and the final relegation spot, but also behind Torino, who have a -19 goal difference. That’s just embarrassing.
Manager Giuseppe Iachini will at least get Martín Cáceres back from suspension, although Dušan Vlahović will be in the stands for another match. After his consolation goal, expect Patrick Cutrone to start up front with Federico Chiesa and a clearly exhausted Franck Ribery flanking him in a 4-3-3. Alfred Duncan should be a lock for the midfield, while the defense could see Cáceres and/or Igor enter the XI.
The trick in this one will be attacking without falling into Parma’s trap. The Gialloblu like to sit deep, soak up pressure with an experienced defense, and then hit with their pace on the break. Expect lots of fouls in the middle from a gritty engine room that tries to force everything wide. For the Viola to succeed here, they’ll need good play from the fullbacks to stretch Parma’s backline, quick passing to switch the play, and the occasional burst forward from the middle. However, committing too many bodies forward plays into the hosts’ hands, so we could see a lot of very reactive football from Fiorentina here.
How to watch
TV: ESPN2 in the US and BeIn2 elsewhere may pay dividends. Check the full international television listings here.
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Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
Ugh. Realistically, Fiorentina are going to lose this one because Parma are just going to bully them off the pitch. Because TMBGD is a place of optimism, though, I’ll say that the Viola spring the 1-2 upset behind goals from Cutrone and Chiesa as Cornelius pulls one back for the hosts in a janky, stop-start, disjointed game that’ll likely see a sending off, considering the Viola’s penchant for red cards of late.