For anyone who wasn’t sure at the start of the year, Dušan Vlahović has made it abundantly clear that he’s a very good striker. After looking completely out of his depth under Giuseppe Iachini, Cesare Prandelli has unlocked him, and now the Very Large Young Adult Man sits on 9 goals (tied for 13th in the league). Perhaps even more encouraging, his xG tally of 11.6 (tied for 4th best with Lautaro Martínez) shows that, with a bit more luck—remember those borked finishes over the first month or so?—he’d have even more. It’s not just penalties, either, as his non-penalty xG of 9.4 (6th best) is also excellent.
He’s also doing this for a team that boasts the 5th-worst attack in the league in terms of goals scored, so it’s not like he’s getting much help. In fact, no other forward has scored more than a single goal this campaign. If you want to find the problem with the attack, well, there it is.
With 12 games left to maintain a 6-point cushion between Torino and the final relegation spot, Fiorentina’s still got a bit of wiggle room. It’s getting a bit late in the day for Cesare Prandelli to figure out his best XI. So, since we all know he reads VN religiously, let’s give him a hand. Who’s the best partner for Vlahović up top? Let’s assume that the team will continue to operate in a 3-5-2 for the purposes of this exercise.
The obvious choice is Franck Ribery. Even at 37, the Frenchman possesses the touch and vision to create chances out of nothing, especially on the break. However, his inability to run, track back, or score means that, for as good as he is, he probably doesn’t help the team in his current role as much as he hurts it.
After Ribery, things get even bleaker. Christian Kouamé has looked awfully clunky this year, and while some of that is down to coaches having him do jobs that don’t play to his strengths, he sure doesn’t look like the guy who was lethal for Genoa last year, possibly because he’s still not entirely fit. Valentin Eysseric is a deeply limited player who can fulfill a very basic role but offers almost nothing. José Callejón looks lost and bored in a central position. Aleksandr Kokorin can’t get healthy and hasn’t been great over the past couple years. Tòfol Montiel deserves a chance but probably won’t get it.
Who should play next to Vlahović for the rest of the season?
This poll is closed
Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose.