Coach Cesare Prandelli must be pondering what needs to be done in order to overturn the current tide consuming his side as the Gigliati continue to drop points diminishing any hopes of ending in the coveted fourth spot which paves the way for Champions League qualification. To compound matters further la Viola’s last two defeats came courtesy of some susceptible calls. Against Bayern Munich, the Gigliati were on the wrong end of a number of calls while against Milan the players were let down by a refereeing non-call as the official opted not to whistle after skipper Riccardo Montolivo was fouled inside the penalty box.
The match against the Rossoneri was reminiscent of the last hurtful home defeat suffered against Roma. La Viola dominated proceedings but missed key opportunities to claim all three points. Fiorentina lack efficiency and, despite scoring the opener, Alberto Gilardino remains a shadow of the player who struck fear in opposing defenders in Italy, Europe and the World Cup qualifiers during the closing months of 2009. The Azzurri striker might be missing his first-choice partner Adrian Mutu who remains suspended but the Romanian’s absence is little excuse for his dip in form. Against Milan the Fiorentina defence was once again shambolic for stretches of the match, in particular in the closing 10 minutes when the club conceded the two killer blows through Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Alexandre Pato. Ronaldinho’s incisive passing easily dissected the Gigliati defence which looks more like a bunch of players assimilated from different parts of the world with little if any understanding, no sense of positioning and certainly extremely poor coverage of the opposing strikers. Pato was in acres of space to rifle home the winner, while Huntelaar easily tore through after a delightful one-two with Ronaldinho.
During the first-half of the campaign the Gigliati defence was one of the main reasons the club remained in contention for the fourth spot, but after 25 matches it has been surpassed by six other Serie A club’s defensive lines. Obviously the injury to Alessandro Gamberini does not help at all while January signing Felipe Dias has been rather inconsistent. Prandelli’s problems are not solely restricted to the defensive department. The attackers have not converted opportunities presented to them and the current surge in the form of Marco Marchionni and Juan Manuel Vargas has gone unrewarded. The charismatic Coach is struggling to comprehend how the hard work of the players is failing to yield positive results. Perhaps eliminating Bayern Munich in the return-leg will provide the necessary boost but in the meantime la Viola must negotiate two tricky tests against a resurgent Juventus side led by Alberto Zaccheroni and a desperate team seeking survival in the shape of Lazio.
The Gigliati are seven points behind the Bianconeri meaning fourth spot could be in sight if they overcome Lazio and then can beat Juventus at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Prandelli is aware the club must resort to damage limitation and take steps one match at a time, so the players will be urged to focus on the trip to Rome before the two difficult games against Juve and the Bavarian side in Europe. While Gilardino has scored despite his unimpressive form, the likes of Marchionni and Vargas are returning to their best but perhaps the player who has taken it upon him to make a difference is the recently installed captain Montolivo.
The Italian midfielder was handed the captain’s armband when defender Dario Dainelli left the club and at this rate he is probably going to force himself into the Azzurri fold. While Montolivo might not have been extraordinary, he has performed with consistency and shown he is capable of handling the additional responsibilities associated with the skipper’s role.
The club’s established players are doing much better than the January signings, who by all means have failed to impress. Adem Ljajic remains a project for the future but defender Felipe Dias has been error prone. Mario Bolatti has not exactly lit up the Stadio Artemio Franchi. On-loan striker Keirrison failed to capitalise on a late opportunity and is unlikely to force himself into the starting line-up given the setup preferred by Prandelli. These January market moves have raised the question of whether the respected Tactician will remain in Florence as he has yet to extend his contract . Reports claim he wants a stronger voice when it comes to the club’s transfer moves. He is particularly concerned about having a greater influence on future signings.
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
Crisis continues in Florence albeit fuelled by incorrect refereeing decisions – February 19, 2010
The Gigliati finally win yet worrying signs remain evident – February 22, 2010
Overlooked penalty sees the Gigliati lose despite a gritty performance – February 26, 2010