Say what you want about results, moments of brilliance and periods of hope have peaked through recently. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I feel like this squad is on the cusp of finally putting it together.
What started out as a stellar defense with a goal deficiency has flip flopped into swiss cheese and some beautiful play from the wings, highlighted by my first half MVP Christian Kouame. Fiorentina will be looking for some vengeance tonight against a very good Başakşehir following up a very well-played match against Inter that saw Paolo Valeri’s dirty deeds doing Fiorentina dirtier. A Başakşehir that Fiorentina lost 3-0 to just a few weeks ago in Istanbul.
Fiorentina don’t only have vengeance on their mind, they also have pride. While Fiorentina sit in 14th place in the Serie A table, they have the opportunity to sit level on points with Başakşehir if they can win at home, putting them in a very good situation a week before they take on Rigas to potentially go top of their bracket. For Rocco Commisso, being able to say to his fans that the club finishes first in their bracket in Europe would be a huge win for him in quelling the loudest backlash he has faced since taking over the club three and a half years ago.
The match will be played on Wednesday, 27 October 2022, at 6:45 PM GMT/12:45 PM EST, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in beautiful Firenze. It looks to be one of the most jealousy inspiring days in Tuscany with daytime temperatures ranging in the low to high 70’s. At kickoff the temperature will be a perfect 70 degrees. Let us all hope for my benefit that we will see the same temperatures and sunny weather over the next two weeks when I am in person.
Fiorentina really need a win here. As we already mentioned, Rocco would love to have a win he can give to the fans getting Fiorentina top of the bracket. There have been rumors in Firenze that if Vincenzo Italiano does not get a result today and against Spezia that his job may be in jeopardy, a premise that this guy has publicly been against. The players will play in a far less packed stadium from the sold out game against Inter Milan, something that may help calm some of their nerves.
So lets start with some assumptions we think are pretty solid. Gollini will likely return as the keeper. Fiorentina will need a very strong game from him. Gollini will be looking to redeem himself after a very bad performance laced with mistake after mistake in the first leg. It wont help that Fiorentina will be without two of their fastest players in Riccardo Sottil and Nico Gonzalez.
We may ultimately see a top three of Cabral, Kouame and Ikone, which would be a very strong lineup based on recent form. It is likely though that Jovic may get the starting nod over Cabral though. We could also see one of Italiano’s now patented rotations. Is it possible we may see Cabral and Jovic start up top together, finally? Surprise!
In this week’s most surprising mention, Zurkowski was discussed in several questions and coach comments. Is that foreshadowing? It would make sense considering Fiorentina have done a tremendous job devaluing this asset after not learning from the Dragowski debacle. Big Z is more than capable to play against this Başakşehir team.
Were they that good a few weeks ago or were we that bad? I am sure it’s a mix of both, but this is a very disciplined, well coached squad. Basaksehir come in confident, but vigilant. Coach Emre Belozoglu commented during his pre-game press conference.
“It’s a nice advantage but this time I expect a much more difficult match. Our goal is to close the group in first place. We have prepared ourselves by taking nothing for granted, knowing that the viola are stronger than what they have shown so far. The Italian team is facing a lot of bad luck.”
Basaksehir are clear in their goals, close out first place in the bracket. A draw would nearly complete that objective, a win would cement it.
This is the probable formation (4-3-3): Babacan in goal; Sahiner, Duarte, Tekdemir and Kaldirim in defense, Turuc, Biglia and Ozcan in midfield, with Traoré, Okaka and Gurler in attack.
How to watch
TV: BeIn might have this. Check the full international television listings to be sure.
Online: Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal streams. I’ll try to catch a few minutes on the Paramount+ ap.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
We need a win. We are angry. Italiano may be desperate (foolish notion). That can either work in our favor or blow up in our face. It is my opinion that this club has performed much better, even if results haven’t always followed.
The fan base is very fragmented, and that is unfortunate. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, it is time for us all to recognize that we must rally around and support the jersey. A rally around the team in the Franchi should ease some of the pressure and that can lead to a result. I am the eternal optimist so here is my prediction….
3-1 to the good guys! Goals from Kouame (2) and Milenkovic (corner). This puts us level on points with Başakşehir, bringing hope to a 1st place finish in Europe with one round still to go next week.