The Gigliati overcame Lazio 3-2 in an entertaining match which gave the much maligned Italian Cup and its backers something to smile about.
The thrilling encounter was filled with goals as the score indicates, but what made it even more interesting is that both sides fielded a strong lineup contributing to a spectacle with their relentless style of play. Some might argue those two sides have nothing to lose by fielding their key players and the Coppa Italia could be their only chance of silverware this season, but for la Viola qualifying for the Champions League is most important, while Lazio need to distance themselves from the relegation zone.
There are no easy matches for the Gigliati in the weeks to come and the next two rounds of Serie A will hugely affect the club’s progress this season. The club will first travel to Sicily to take on Palermo in a potential decider of who keeps in touch with the top four and who is beginning to drift away. Palermo will be a stern test as the Sicilians have not lost at home in league play. The fixture list does not get any easier with a trip to Sardinia a week later to take on Cagliari who are currently tied with Fiorentina on 30 points. Without looking too far ahead, the next match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi will see third place Roma as visitors, implying the next couple of weeks could very well decide whether la Viola will compete for a top four finish to secure Champions League qualification.
One player Coach Cesare Prandelli will be hoping to count on during this crucial stretch and will aim to retain his services during the January transfer window is Adrian Mutu. The Romanian scored a double against Lazio and has been on a scoring binge registering a remarkable seven goals in the last five appearances in all competitions. Prandelli will want to keep his in-form striker despite the increased rumours about Manchester City Boss Roberto Mancini’s desire to lure Mutu to join the Citizens. If there is an attractive financial package for the Romanian then he could be tempted to leave as his legal wrangling with Chelsea has left him in an unenviable situation. The Gigliati have been quite busy in the transfer market and they let go of veteran striker Jose Castillo without bringing another attacker as a replacement. Fiorentina invested in defence and midfield but did not focus on the offence, which is a strong indication of Prandelli’s desire to retain Mutu’s services and count on fellow forward Alberto Gilardino while waiting for Stevan Jovetic to fully recover from injury.
Mutu might be grabbing the headlines for his scoring spree but Italy striker Gilardino has had a decent season by all standards as he has propelled the Azzurri to South Africa while keeping la Viola within touching distance of the fourth spot in Serie A and helping the side to march on in the Champions League. Gilardino’s goals have been critical for the club and against Lazio he turned provider as he assisted on both of Mutu’s goals. Young sensation Jovetic remains sidelined due to injury but Prandelli acknowledges the Montenegrin must return for la Viola to be able to compete on all fronts, as playing in Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League with just two established forwards will wear them out and make things more predictable. The recovery of Jovetic allows Prandelli to tinker with the lineup, rotate his attacking line and rest some of the weary legs.
Prandelli was ecstatic with the cup victory and it is obvious he considered the win over the Aquile as a morale boosting result following the shocking 1-2 home setback to Bologna. The loss to the Rossoblu not only deprived Fiorentina of three important points but would have tied the team with Juventus in fifth place prior to the undertaking of the daunting fixture list ahead. There is no point in pondering what could have happened but this home defeat to a club threatened by relegation might come back to haunt the Gigliati as the league standings are as tight as ever with three points separating the club from the fifth ranked Bianconeri and those same three points are what separate Fiorentina from Chievo who occupy the 13th spot.
Points are of the essence at this stage and Prandelli is too clever not to know this, which is precisely why the Coach was an aggravated man following the surprising loss to Bologna. He knew the importance of beating Lazio to restore some confidence and continuity prior to navigating this rough schedule ahead.
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