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Fiorentina 1-2 Roma: Player grades and 3 things we learned

The Viola fall at the last hurdle and now are just 5 points clear of the drop

ACF Fiorentina v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Player Ratings:

Bartłomiej Drągowski—6.5: Did fine with what was on offer, and I thought his distribution was slightly better than it’s been in the past. Nothing he could do about either of the two goals, and he had a solid save on Borja Mayoral’s one-on-one.

Nikola Milenković—4.5: That’s two weeks in a row now that poor defending from the Mountain has cost Fiorentina points. A lapse in concentration kept Rick Karsdorp onside and allowed Amadou Diawara to tap in the easiest of finishes. While no one could have predicted Leonardo Spinnazola’s tidy finish on his weak feet, Nicky could’ve marked him a little tighter.

Germán Pezzella—6: He was so close to having a very solid performance until he didn’t see Diawara’s run in the closing stages. I’ll still give him credit because he was the key reason why a Roma team with a fairly dangerous attack didn’t threaten the Viola much.

LMQ—6: How much fun is he to watch? He can get a little carried away sometimes, as seen by his giveaway in the second half which gifted Roma a clear counterattack. But I love to see the confidence he now has, and his bits of flair and precise tackling add an element of enjoyment to a club that is really lacking good vibes right now.

Lorenzo Venuti—5.5: One of the smaller positives to take away from this season is Venuti’s emergence as someone who can be a key role player for the Viola. He’s never going to take your breath away, but he delivered yet another solid performance. Getting dribbled by twice doesn’t help though, and his empty offensive stat-sheet is something he has to improve on if he wants to take his game to the next level.

Erick Pulgar—5.5: Other than one very sloppy giveaway in the first half, Pulgar had a solid all-around match. He completed 89% of his passes and was a fulcrum for the Viola to play off as they tried to create offensive moves. I would like to see more bite on the defensive side of the ball, as the Chilean only had one interception, no tackles and didn’t commit a single foul.

Sofyan Amrabat—5: Seems to have lost a bit of his rhythm that he had before his suspension and benching. Looked off the pace in the first half, misplacing several passes. This was also the lowest number of passes (36) that he’s had in any match this season where he’s played 90 minutes, which is worrying.

Gaetano Castrovilli—5: I’m starting to become worried about Castro. After a much-needed goal against Spezia, I was hoping his form would turn around, but instead, we’re still seeing average performances from him (12 passes in 52 minutes?!). If he wants any chance of featuring for the Azzurri in June he’s going to have to turn around his season very quickly.

Igor—6: Looked assured of himself on both sides of the ball, and was an experiment by Prandelli I enjoyed before he was injured. I’ll elaborate below.

Franck Ribery—6.5: Just about the only attacking threat the Viola had going forward. Ribery slowed down the pace of the game a little too much for my liking, but almost all of the Viola’s chances in this match stemmed from his creativity.

Dusan Vlahovic—6: Had a solid match all-around. Drew four fouls, had three shots, and did a great job holding his run when waiting for Ribery to play him through in the first half. Gave away the ball (52% passing percentage) too much for my liking.

Cristiano Biraghi—6: I was hoping Biraghi would get a rest today because with how he’s played recently he’s definitely needed one. Unfortunately, due to Igor’s injury, he had to come on before halftime, and played fine, his best moment being sending in the cross which led to Spinnazola’s own goal. Found it funny when as soon as he came on, he proceeded to whip in a cross which hit the first defender.

Sasha Kokorin—4: I’ll give credit to the fans here. We all knew this was a horrible signing, and it certainly looks that way so far. Did I mention he’s the third highest-paid player on the team? Can’t wait for his loan to the 11th placed Russian league team this summer.

Borja Valero—5: Did everything asked of him in his ten minutes on the pitch.

Martin Caceres—5: Not to blame for the final goal, so not much to comment with his cameo.

Three Things we learned:

1.It’s time to start worrying (just a little) about relegation.

Now, I’m not saying this to try and start a frenzy. But with Cagliari now having won two in a row, I’m nervous. Fiorentina sits just five points ahead of Torino in 18th, who has two matches in hand. The saving grace for the Viola is that they are level on points with Benevento and Spezia, giving them a buffer even if the Granata continue picking up points as well. While I still think the odds are highly unlikely, relegation will continue to haunt this team barring six points from their next two matches. Prandelli has said all season that his goal with the club is salvation and nothing more, and it's time to see if he can deliver on that promise. And yes, I can’t believe I’m having to write this in March of Rocco’s second year with the club.

2. Igor at wing-back should be tried again

While he doesn’t have the crossing acumen of Cristiano Biraghi, Igor is still surprisingly good on the ball for being the largest player on the team. While we were only able to see less than a half at left wing-back today, I was impressed with what I saw. The real question for me is: should he start over Cristiano Biraghi moving forwards? While he doesn’t offer nearly the dynamism that Biraghi does, having him there may allow Gaetano Castrovilli and Jack Bonaventura more willingness to push forwards and cause problems. Once he returns from injury, I’d like to see him play against both a top-level and lower-level team and see what he offers.

3. Daniele Pradè (and management) doesn’t know any better than us

While this is something I learned with regards to Pradè months ago, I’m really starting to wonder how the recruitment choices are made. Watching Martin Caceres come in and force LMQ to move to holding midfield had me wondering. How was it that just a month ago management was saying the squad was “complete”. While LMQ has played holding midfield before, that was years ago, and it’s not like we loaned out a perfectly capable Serie A #6 to one of our direct rivals battling relegation. Oh wait, we did. It’s decisions like that and like the one to sign a 30-year-old Russian convict who hasn’t been good in four years and has never played at a higher level than the Russian league to the third-highest salary on the team in the January window where we needed reinforcements but instead he comes in and has fitness problems and looks horrible. There’s the rant I needed. Sometimes I wonder if the recruitment team knows something I don’t, that their years of experience and deep scouting networks means that any decision they make is well-informed and likely to succeed in the long run. Now, watching this shitshow of a season play out, I’m really starting to think it’s just plain incompetence. Every day that Pradè remains employed is an insult to the fans of this club.