The news that Borja Valero appears to have recovered from the injury sustained against AS Roma last Friday will come as a relief to his Coach Paulo Sousa, with the Spaniard becoming increasingly pivotal to the team's success.
The driving force behind the team's possession based system, the former Villarreal man has been asked to play in a variety of roles this season. Playing 15 times in central midfield, 12 in attacking midfield and two in defensive midfield, not only has he shown his versatility – but ranked 4th overall in Serie A for passing accuracy (89.6%) and 10th in key passes – he has also displayed how decisive his play has become.
After he replaced a largely ineffective Federico Bernardeschi on 65 minutes in the fixture versus Atalanta, the tempo of the game immediately increased. Within two minutes, Mati Fernandez broke what had been an incredibly frustrating stalemate and Fiorentina took control, going on to win 3-2. Despite the fact that the Viola allowed two goals from the home side, they never looked in any real danger of losing the game after introducing their Spanish talisman.
In just 24 minutes on the field, Borja changed the game, making 1 shot on target, 1 assist, 3 dribbles and touching the ball 22 times. Not only did he create chances, but his 86.7% passing accuracy meant that he was typically looking to make every touch of the ball count.
A week earlier, Valero started in midfield against Inter, supporting Bernardeschi and Josip Ilicic in front of him. He was once again key to Fiorentina's 2-1 victory, making 63 passes in total with a 90.5% passing success rate. In this match, he proved his role & workrate are key to the team's success making 3 crosses, scoring headed goal and even making a clearance.
After the disappointment against AS Roma, Fiorentina will need their key man to stay healthy if they wish to continue their quest for a third placed finish and Champions League football next season.