Every couple of weeks, the Viola Nation writers get together to hash out the answers to the most important Fiorentina questions. Here’s what we talked about this week.
Ben: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fiorentina desperately need a new winger. This is to solve the issue of a lack of creativity in the final third. Even with Nico Gonzalez, Dusan Vlahovic is not getting enough service. Without him, as we’ve seen... it’s brutal to watch. For that reason, Vincenzo Italiano needs to find someone who can play across from Nico that adds something different to our attacking corps. I think that man is Gaetano Castrovilli. He’s one of the only players on the roster who can beat players one on one and then pick a pass (sorry Riccardo Sottil), and having him cut in from the right or left and give our wingbacks license to push up could create a lot more offense. Given that Vincenzo Italiano is willing to play Marco Benassi at right-back, I don’t see why Tanino can’t get a shot out wide.
Tito: One of the things I love about Italiano is his willingness to go hell for leather at all times. After years of passivity, that desire to make opponents react, both with and without the ball, is more than welcome. However, he doesn't seem like he’s figured out when to change it. The Juventus game is the most obvious example: despite having both central defenders in the book, he had all three of his midfielders hurling themselves into the Bianconero box, leaving the defense completely exposed in space. Learning when to drop deeper, especially to open up more space to break into, has to be the next step in this team’s evolution.
NickyNutella: Italiano is a great coach and he’s already made Fiorentina a far more exciting team than we’ve seen in decades. My only knock on him is that he can be pretty rigid in how the team plays. It’s important to create an identity but it’s also important to know when you need to switch things up. Look at the Napoli and Inter games this season as an example, we were the better side for the better part of the game but eventually ran out of steam. While the high press is integral to the team’s success, it is virtually impossible to do it for 90 minutes. If Atletico Madrid can’t do it for 90’ and they are the kings of it, then we can’t be expected to either. I’d love to see the Mister conserve the team’s energy at times so that way we can keep that energy for a full game.
Mike: I’ve grown more of an appreciation for Italiano’s ability and affinity to never play the same players, however, I do wonder if the team has not been able to completely gel because players are not consistently playing with each other week in and week out. There is a lingering question of if the benefit we get in our opponents not knowing who will be on the pitch from game to game is overshadowed by the mistakes made resulting from the lack of chemistry. If you look at the squad as it is constructed today there are players who are must starts - Dusan at Forward, Nico at LW, Torreira and Castrovilli in midfield, Nikola and LMQ at CB and Bart in goal. You then have players who slot in by default of no one else on the roster - Saponara at RW and Biraghi at LB. That leaves competition for one midfield role and RB. I slot Jack in midfield and Odriozola at RB. This is a group who should get the start in the next four games (depending on availability due to injury and suspension). Once this core group gels and builds a trust with one another I believe it is then that we can start rotating in a player or two from time to time based on opponent and game plan.