The Gigliati came from behind twice to overcome Chievo in a tricky Coppa Italia tie to advance to the quarterfinals following a thrilling encounter. The Flying Donkeys were a stubborn opposition but could do little to contain Fiorentina’s offensive line formed by Adrian Mutu and Khouma Babacar. Coach Cesare Prandelli was a delighted man after the match and did not hide the positive impression left by the emerging Senegalese youngster Babacar.
The results since the start of 2010 have been impressive with la Viola convincingly winning all three games played in the Italian league and cup. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect during this run has been Romanian star Mutu’s return to scoring ways. The talented forward has found the back of the net in the three matches played since the resumption of competitive fixtures banging in four goals in total.
The cup victory confirmed once again the proper rotation used by the wise Prandelli while showing the Coach and director Pantaleo Corvino are working diligently to build a deep and competitive side. The one negative aspect to emerge from this tie was the shaky form of goalkeeper Vlada Avramov. The Serbian veteran has failed to impress in his rare appearances this season when the impeccable Sebastien Frey was either rested or out injured. The club will need to find an able replacement for the Frenchman in case he is sidelined for considerable time or if he is indeed sold to Manchester United as rumours would have it.
The match witnessed the return of Marco Marchionni who was on as a substitute while it marked the first competitive game since the surprising sale of club skipper Dario Dainelli. The move was actually a shrewd transaction as the player was on the wrong side of 30 and the Gigliati have been retooling their defensive line following the addition of Brazilian Felipe Dias da Silva dal Belo. The departing Dianelli expressed his sadness at leaving in a clear sign of how much of a solid and cohesive squad the Coach and the club management have nurtured in Florence. There are some exceptions but the club as a whole appears to be united on all fronts with the players rarely if ever appearing in the media for the wrong reasons. Only Mutu has the distinction of being discussed in the media for the wrong reasons, namely his legal debacle with Chelsea and his partying habits.
In less than 24 hours la Viola have announced the signing of Partizan Belgrade youngster Adem Ljajic pending the successful passing of a medical and are apparently on the verge of signing Argentine international Mario Bolatti. Only a few days ago it appeared Bolatti was going to reject the Tuscan club’s offer to join home club Boca Juniors. The latest reports claim the midfielder is quite close to joining the Gigliati after director Corvino successfully negotiated a deal with the player’s agent Marcelo Simonian. The Argentine player has previously represented Porto so he does have European experience and has netted the decisive goal for Argentina against Uruguay in the World Cup qualifiers.
The club officials seem to be focused on the midfield position considering Fiorentina were linked with Miguel Veloso in recent weeks and there are emerging reports of interest in swapping Mario Alberto Santana with Roma’s Matteo Brighi. The Coach and the management may have come to the conclusion both of the former Juventus players Cristiano Zanetti and Marco Marchionni are very useful yet quite prone to injury as they have spent considerable time in the treatment room.
The other influential midfielder Juan Manuel Vargas will remain in Florence during the January transfer window but there are no guarantees he will stay beyond the summer as there are claims Real Madrid will swoop for his signature. The Spanish giants will reportedly offer around €20 million or more for his services which will make it rather hard for la Viola to turn down. Fiorentina could very easily cash in on one of its most prized assets and use the capital to invest further in reinforcing the side with young rising stars such as Stevan Jovetic and latest signing Ljajic. It is obvious the club’s management is planning for the future and is creating a solid building block around key players such as Alberto Gilardino, Riccardo Montolivo and Alessandro Gamberini.
Next up for the Gigliati will be a home clash with Bologna and the tifosi will be expecting goals given the form of Mutu and Gilardino. Coach Prandelli will make sure the players will not underestimate the opposition team.
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