The breaking news came from the boardroom in the aftermath of Fiorentina’s positive performance on the pitch. Yesterday, Club President Andrea Della Valle resigned his post while maintaining, along with his brother Diego, ownership of the Florence outfit. Although the timing of Della Valle’s decision might come as a surprise, he probably chose to step down with the team enjoying a positive moment. His move is most likely attributed to a willingness to hand over the reins of the club to a benefactor who can bankroll la Viola to compete for titles. The news might be shocking but for the tifosi the paramount concern is the standing of the club and its results. As the saying goes- you are only as good as your last game and la Viola certainly enjoyed home turf advantage in a convincing 2-0 win over former joint leaders Sampdoria. The Blucerchiati made a perfect start to the season although against weaker opposition. This cannot be used to take away anything from Fiorentina’s players who deserve full credit for bouncing back after the disappointing loss in Rome a few days ago to beat a strong opponent.
The Tuscan club is creating a fortress out of the Stadio Artemio Franchi this season yet the away form continues to be a cause of concern. Considering the outcome of la Viola’s games this season, it has become rather apparent that the club is moving towards a particular trend of impressing at home while struggling away from Florence. La Viola has yet to register an away win this season and was on the losing end to Lyon in the Champions League and Roma in Serie A in the previous two away games. The key now is to focus on achieving victory in the next away fixture which happens to be this weekend prior to the important Liverpool clash in a home game. A win against Livorno away from the comforts of Fiorentina’s stadium will build the team’s morale and instill the belief that la Viola can indeed run away with all points regardless of the game’s venue.
The midweek victory over Antonio Cassano and co. reveals the quality of the club’s starting line-up when comparing it with other fellow challengers in Serie A. The club also has a quality Coach in Cesare Prandelli, who is akin to an added luxury which will probably give la Viola the upper hand in the long haul when competing for a Champions League spot with other teams with similar talent and objectives. Napoli has invested heavily in the market yet Roberto Donadoni may be in his last days with the Partenopei while Palermo has struggled under Walter Zenga despite all the ambitious declarations made by the club’s President Maurizio Zamparini, Zenga himself and a few players. Clearly, Prandelli has more experience than the two aforementioned Coaches and is moving towards stabilising the team after a rather inconsistent start. La Viola’s next two games are quite important since a win over Livorno will serve to banish the away-from-home mediocrity and also keep the team within touching distance of the top spots. In addition, victory on the weekend will serve as the perfect tonic in anticipation of the massive clash with former European Champions Liverpool.
Further analysis of the implications of the win over Sampdoria reveals the increased maturity of Stevan Jovetic and his continued emergence as a young star. The Montenegro forward has been grabbing headlines despite Alberto Gilardino’s decent scoring form. Jovetic will be handed the reigns in the clashes with Liverpool and Hungarian club Debrecen in the Champions League with Gilardino serving a two-match ban due to his elbow offense against Lyon’s Jeremy Toulalan. The youngster will have to carry the load since Romanian Adrian Mutu has yet to regain form following some niggling injuries and the now infamous legal debacle with Chelsea. Another positive for Coach Prandelli is the fact la Viola’s defense held up relatively well against a strike-force of Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini. Liverpool’s Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard may be more established and playing at a higher level but it would be a mistake to belittle the influence of Cassano on the pitch. While the Spaniard scores more goals and Gerrard gives the Reds added impetus, Fantantonio provides the spark making the unthinkable turn into a possibility.
Fiorentina cannot afford to lose and even a draw might not be sufficient on the long run to progress beyond the group stage in Europe. French club Lyon will be looking to capitalise and win in order to create a gap over Liverpool and Fiorentina. The Tuscan club’s defenders will have their work cut out for them against Liverpool and the tifosi will pin their hope on the heroics of consistent goalkeeper Sebastien Frey.
Overcoming Livorno and then beating the English club will end any cynical speculation surrounding the Florentine outfit and justify the lofty pre-season expectations.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009