The Gigliati succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Sampdoria with the goals ironically scored by two former Fiorentina players Giampaolo Pazzini and Franco Semioli. How badly does Coach Cesare Prandelli lament the loss of Pazzini who was offloaded because Alberto Gilardino and Adrian Mutu were preferred as the first-choice strikers. Pazzini has excelled since moving to Genoa to lead the Sampdoria attack. The World Cup hopeful is not the only player sacrificed by the club which could potentially come back to bite the Gigliati. As mentioned in previous editions of the Club Focus the sale of Dario Dainelli in January has proven to be a costly error with the defence looking quite shaky.
Prandelli’s misery was compounded with the injuries suffered by Mario Santana and Alessandro Gamberini who were replaced inside the first 15 minutes of the clash in Genoa. Gamberini’s loss is monumental considering European opponents Bayern Munich are scoring at a frightening pace and the current defensive line-up at Prandelli’s disposal cannot be relied upon to shut down the Bavarian threats. The biggest advantage for Prandelli’s squad is the fact the return leg will be played in Florence so if the match in Munich can be kept reasonably close then the clash at the Stadio Artemio Franchi can be the decider. Such a scenario would work in Fiorentina’s favour but the question is: who will start for Fiorentina in defence and midfield with injuries ravaging the squad? Prandelli appears with no choice but to start Gilardino and Stevan Jovetic upfront considering Brazilian Keirrison has yet to feature prominently since joining the club.
Winger Marco Marchionni will probably get to start with Riccardo Montolivo and Marco Donadel manning the middle and recent signing Mario Bolatti completing the midfield line-up. Prandelli could be tempted to push back Manuel Vargas to a more defensive role as a left-back given the recent struggles at the back while Brazilian Felipe Dias and Dane Per Kroldrup partnering together at the heart of the Gigliati defence. Gianluca Comotto will occupy the right-back berth to complete Prandelli’s defensive line. This does not appear like an impressive line-up which exudes confidence which means goalkeeper Sebastien Frey will have to be at his best to keep Bayern’s attackers at bay. The French custodian had an impressive start to the season but his performances have witnessed a dip in form the past couple of months. The Frenchman’s form is key to the Gigliati’s hopes and aspirations.
The club will have to overcome the current crisis at the earliest junction before European places become out of reach as it is highly unlikely the Gigliati can triumph in Europe this season. A win against Bayern will provide the perfect tonic needed to reboot Fiorentina’s season and could very well start a positive run which sees the Gigliati enter the competition for the fourth spot in Serie A. There are enough matches left on the league’s fixture list but given the club’s current form it does appear rather impossible for Prandelli’s men to qualify to the Champions League. The failure to do so could signal the end of Prandelli’s days in Florence and might force the club to sell some of the prized assets such as the emerging youngster Jovetic and the impressive Peruvian Vargas.
For the umpteenth time Prandelli is having to answer to rumours about his future in Florence with the charismatic tactician highly regarded amongst his peers and critics alike. He is still being linked with taking over the Azzurri job once Marcello Lippi steps down while his historic connection to the Bianconeri shirt (Prandelli played for Juventus over two decades ago) makes him one of the primary candidates for taking the helm at Vinovo to reinvigorate the struggling Old Lady next season. How he copes with the current crisis engulfing Fiorentina will have a big influence on how aggressively he will be pursued by various parties as even, perhaps a bit shockingly, Liverpool were rumoured to be interested if Rafael Benitez did leave Anfield at the end of the season.
Prandelli will be calling upon all his expertise to try and turn around Fiorentina’s season and save it from turning into a disaster after such a promising start which included a run of five successive victories in the elite European competition’s group stage. The one player capable of igniting a spark is Jovetic but he will probably be tightly observed by the German club’s defence. Prandelli will certainly be happy with returning to the peninsula with a draw from this demanding trip.
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
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009
Gilardino shines again as la Viola eye the Bianconeri’s scalp – October 16, 2009
La Viola holds firm against Juventus – October 20, 2009
Crucial win over Debrecen, Manchester United prepare bid for Jovetić? – October 23, 2009
La Viola going through a rough patch – October 30, 2009
Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound – November 3, 2009
Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen – November 6, 2009
La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall – November 10, 2009
Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic – November 20, 2009
Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms – November 24, 2009
la Viola through to the round of 16 in Europe – November 28, 2009
La Viola’s resistance broken from the penalty spot – December 1, 2009
Must-win game to remain close to Champions League spots – December 4, 2009
Race for fourth continues as Fiorentina travel to Anfield – December 8, 2009
Historic win as Tifosi give warm reception – December 11, 2009
Precious points dropped as fatigue and injuries mount – December 15, 2009
Viola prepare for Milan’s arrival and Mutu’s departure – December 18, 2009
Snow postpones Milan clash – December 22, 2009
Calm holiday period despite transfer reports – December 29, 2009
Reinforcements wanted – January 5, 2010
Ideal start for 2010 as the Gigliati begin a push to climb the table – January 8, 2010
Mutu’s timely return to form – January 12, 2010
La Viola continue on the right track on and off the pitch – January 15, 2010
A step back but Bolatti set to join – January 19, 2010
La Viola march on in Coppa Italia as Mutu strikes twice – January 22, 2010
Serie A inconsistency continues as Palermo are victorious in Sicily – January 26, 2010
Adrian Mutu in trouble once again? – January 29, 2010
The schedule only gets tougher from here on for la Viola – February 5, 2010
Bleeding points – February 9, 2010