As we did on Tuesday with Ostermünchen, we’re not going to publish player grades or go too deep into Fiorentina’s 11-0 pasting of Promozione B outfit Polisportivo C4 Foligno because there’s only so much you can actually learn from watching professionals beat up on amateurs, some of whom look, with all respect, like your middle school science teacher.
Anyways, the goals came from José Callejón 12’, Alfred Duncan 18’, Giacomo Bonaventura PK 38’, Dušan Vlahović (deep breath) 47’ 49’ 56’ PK 69’ (nice) 72’ 77’ 79’, Ardenis OG 77’. Callejón had to come off after colliding with the post while turning his goal in, but there weren’t any other injuries.
1. The fullbacks are doing some unusual things.
For the second game in a row, the fullbacks’ role was, for me, the most interesting on the team. While Lorenzo Venuti and Aleksa Terzić mostly played fairly traditional roles, they both constantly underlapped, or ran inside, of their wingers, who usually stayed very wide to stretch the play. Venuti in particular did a nice job of bursting into space behind.
In the second half, though, Cristiano Biraghi and Pol Lirola’s central positioning was even more pronounced. With Riccardo Saponara roaming all over the place, it seemed like Biraghi spent a lot of time playing very high up, as we’re used to seeing. After about the 65 minute mark, though, the Cheese moved to a permanent right wing role and Biraghi pinched way in, often looking more like a central midfielder while Youssef Maleh shuttled out wide. On the right, Lirola mirrored Biraghi and also hit a number of towering crossfield passes. This is the kind of wrinkle that could make Fiorentina must-watch viewing for the tactics-obsessed neutral.
2. Dušan Vlahović is very good.
After he missed several good chances against Ostermünchen, did anyone actually doubt him? Because he scored seven (7) goals in the second half here and probably could’ve had another couple if he’d really wanted to. To reiterate, this was against guys whose jobs aren’t “professional athlete,” so you’d expect him to excel. He was just so very obviously on a different level from everyone else, though, that it was kind of comical. The difference between him and Aleksandr Kokorin, who was once again invisible, was staggering. Vlahović is just an absolute monster out there.
3. The tifosi are going to be in fantastic shape once the season starts.
There were maybe three dozen ultras gathered in one section of the bleachers at the Carlo Benatti and, despite the rain and the wind, they were in really good form. They never stopped singing and clapping except for a brief silence at the 13th minute for Davide Astori. Riccardo Sottil and Terzić were frequently invisible in the first half behind all the smoke from flares (a few of which actually made it onto the field). It’s obviously nothing like a full Curva Fiesole, but it was really fun to see the boys back out there and providing the atmosphere that makes Fiorentina in particular and calcio in general so wonderful.