Watching Fiorentina struggle against Benevento awakened those old feelings of dread. Sure, it was mostly backups in there, but letting the Stregoni hang around felt like tempting fate. Vincenzo Italiano certainly realized it; the fact that, as soon as his opposite number Fabio Caserta subbed on star striker Gianluca Lapadula, Cousin Vinnie brought responded with Dušan Vlahović tells you just how much he worried that the Viola might need another goal.
The reason they needed another goal, of course, was abject performance by Aleksandr Kokorin. He biffed a 1-v-1 after Marco Benassi (Marco Benassi!) backheeled him through. He ran with all the intensity of an asthmatic 16-year-old shih tzu unless he was sprinting into the back of the net past a bemused goalkeeper. He made zero effort to reach the succession of tempting balls into him. He looked as bad as any striker I’ve ever seen play in purple, and I watched Nacho Castillo and el Tanque Silva.
Whatever dark magic summoned him to Florence (Roberto Mancini and Daniele Pradè chanting in the center of a circle of sardine cans), it’s clearly run out. Italiano needs to try someone else at striker until Pradè can bring him an actual footballer to operate as the vice Dušan. While the obvious solution would be dropping Nicolás González at the 9, where he’s played before, that’s not very fun. So let’s run through the more entertaining options, shall we?
Which current Fiorentina player would make the best emergency striker?
This poll is closed
Marco Benassi: his inexplicable and sporadic brilliance is a perfectly acceptable gamble up front
Igor: it’s the old "throw a central defender up front to compete for high balls" trick except that this central defender wears rocket skates while dribbling through four opponents
Youssef Maleh: kid can do pretty much everything else, so why not
Lucas Martínez Quarta: let him finally quench that all-consuming goal thirst
Nikola Milenković: just lump crosses into him and hope that whatever minor deity has kept Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce in a career smiles on you
Lorenzo Venuti: you’d get a 6 out of 10 performance because that’s what he does every time he’s on the pitch
Literally f***ing anybody else at the club, up to and including Joe Barone
Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose.