La Viola will be hosting Atalanta this weekend prior to the final group stage match in Europe against Liverpool. Both encounters are of great significance as Fiorentina cannot afford to drop more winnable points in the domestic league, while beating the English side will ensure the Gigliati finish on top in their group.
Coach Cesare Prandelli seems to have already shelved the away defeat to league leaders Inter as he stressed his players left Milan with their held high after holding Inter scoreless till they conceded a late penalty-kick. The Coach is confident in the ability of his troops to overcome the late blow against the Nerazzurri but he certainly is aware points are the measuring stick for success in Serie A. The opportunity is there given Atalanta’s defence is the weakest after bottom-dwellers Siena’s appalling defensive line. While Romanian Adrian Mutu and Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic are likely to miss out again, the Orobici will have difficulty containing striker Alberto Gilardino.
Prandelli’s major concern must be the lack of consistency this season as positive results were often followed by unconvincing displays and surprising defeats. The dropped points have reached an alarming level, in particular at home, as the Gigliati sit 14 points behind the Nerazzurri in the standings. Fiorentina’s management, players and fans acknowledge the team was not equipped to win the championship, yet languishing so far behind Inter at this stage is a disconcerting sign. The Stadio Artemio Franchi was transformed into a fortress last season when Prandelli’s charges relied on home comforts to edge through to qualify for the Champions League. Fiorentina have already lost to Parma and Napoli in two of their last three home games in the league. Given the club suffered two consecutive losses as the Parma loss was following by the heartbreaking late defeat to Inter, la Viola ought to avoid dropping more points.
Prandelli’s team has rested following the Nerazzurri clash as European competition returns next week so this eliminates the excuse of tired legs and a congested stretch of matches prior to the Atalanta visit. La Dea’s offence has managed a measly 14 goals in 14 rounds of Serie A matches while la Viola’s scoring record has yielded a mediocre 15 goals in the same number of matches. The attack has become an area of concern for Prandelli given the Gigliati’s offensive exploits in Europe have come against Hungarian minnows Debrecen while the three goal tally against visiting Catania remains la Viola’s most impressive scoring bout in the league.
Injuries to Mutu and Jovetic as well as Marco Marchionni (expected to miss 10 days following the injury last weekend) have harmed, but Fiorentina cannot keep relying on a back-line missing one of its pillars Alessandro Gamberini to hold opponents scoreless. Debrecen’s players were able to score three goals and then two goals when the sides met in Hungary and Florence respectively. The return of Gamberini will be insufficient to steady the defence as French custodian Sebastien Frey’s fine form and stunning saves have often covered the side’s defensive inadequacies. The shrew Prandelli is aware of the situation and this might explain why most of the names linked with Fiorentina have been on the defensive end, be it centre-backs or full-backs.
Prandelli has insisted he will not be leaving Florence prior to finishing the task he set out to accomplish with the Tuscan side. Prandelli mentioned to il Corriere dello Sport he feels indebted to the club and the tifosi so he will not budge before achieving success with la Viola. Prandelli is adamant the Della Valle family ought to invest more in the squad to bring trophies to the Gigliati’s cabinets. The Coach stated he will have a meeting with the ownership to discuss options and analyse possibilities to reinforce the side to become even more competitive.
Last week’s qualification to the round of 16 in Europe has definitely boosted the players and the tifosi who must be delighted to come out of a group which featured former French champions Lyon and English side Liverpool which won the elite European competition as recent as 2005. The ambition of la Viola’s Coach, players and management is to see the side win trophies and compete regularly in the Champions League. The fans probably desire more but given the financial constraints the objectives cannot be too excessive. This weekend the focus must turn to the visitors as Fiorentina cannot afford to lose sight of the three points in the clash against Atalanta.
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