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Sampdoria 4-1 Fiorentina: Player grades and 3 things we learned

That was perhaps the most Fiorentina possible possible performance at the most Fiorentina possible time that Fiorentina could have Fiorentinaed.

UC Sampdoria v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Getty Images

Player grades

Pietro Terracciano—4.5: No keeper who concedes 4 ever covers themselves with glory, and the World’s Funnest Dad is no exception, even if there weren’t any glaring errors.

Lorenzo Venuti—4: Charged up and down willingly enough but didn’t accomplish anything. Allowed Sabiri too much time and space without helping double up on any other Sampdoria threats.

Nikola Milenković—4: Picked quite a moment to turn in a clanger. Looked nervous and made plenty of mistakes. Woof.

Igor—4: Ibidem, with the added bonus of receiving a head wound after clashing with Ronaldo Vieira on a corner.

Cristiano Biraghi—4: Produced a few decent moments going forward but was a traffic cone on the other end. No surprise that attacked primarily down his side to good effect.

Giacomo Bonaventura—5: Best player in a bunch of bad ones. Drove forward on the ball a few times, made a couple of things happen, still managed to airmail a pretty good chance before halftime.

Lucas Torreira—4.5: Picked up an early card and wasn’t able to throw himself around much. Left too much space between the lines and didn’t control play at all. Literally tripped over the ball at one point, which neatly summed up his day.

Alfred Duncan—3.5: He drops a stinker every 10 games or so and this was it. Missed so many simple passes to send Samp galloping the other way.

Jonathan Ikoné—3: Really bad day. Created little, gave away a lot. Never found much space and never really did anything worthwhile despite getting plenty of touches in his favored areas.

Arthur Cabral—3: Kept dropping deep instead of spearheading the attack. Rarely in position to get onto passes or finish moves off. Unable to shake Omar Colley or Alex Ferrari at all.

Nicolás González—4.5: Took his penalty very nicely indeed, but that was about it. Seemed jumpy and anxious as he tried to do too much at times, which meant he too often did nothing at all.

Youssef Maleh—4.5: Offered energy and desire but little precision. Still created more than probably any other player despite a hatful of miscues.

José Callejón—3: His first contribution was to let a pass run right through him. His last (and hopefully last in his Fiorentina career) was to blast a shot miles over. The moments in between weren’t any better.

Krzysztof Piątek—3.5: Didn’t really do much of anything, although the team had obviously given up by the time he arrived.

Riccardo Saponara—3.5: Tried to run things from a number 10 position but didn’t exert any influence.

Aleksa Terzić—3.5: Played at rightback and underlapped Callejón. In a vacuum, that’s sort of tactically interesting. In practice, ugh.

Three things we learned

1. The lack of experience is a problem. Fiorentina have very few players who’ve ever competed for Europe on their roster and the stress of the situation clearly got to them; it’s no coincidence that Bonaventura, who’s been in this position before, was their best performer. While Marco Giampaolo’s tactical plan was good, this was much more about the Viola beating themselves than anything else. Moments like this are opportunities for growth. It’s just that growth is really, really not fun a lot of the time.

2. The narrative is undefeated. While it sure would’ve been nice to sew up European competition this week, we all should have known it wasn’t an option. The narrative demands that the last game of the season against Juventus, who poached Dušan Vlahović in January, be the decider. In the face of such forces, any sort of logic or tactics goes right out the window.

3. You can’t learn a damn thing from a wet fart. We’ve had a few of these this year—Torino and Udinese send their regards—so the fact that the Viola have conceded 4 to an average or sub-average side is officially a recurring issue that the brass needs to investigate. This one, however, felt like it came from the players knowing that AC Milan beat Atalanta the day before and that a win would take them to Europe. For a young and inexperienced group, the pressure was simply too much. That supersedes any sort of tactical analysis I can do here, so I’m going to put it down to a mental hiccup and move on. Hopefully, Vincenzo Italiano and company can do the same.