An impressive 5-2 thrashing of Hungarian side Debrecen confirmed Fiorentina’s second position in a group which also features French club Lyon and English powerhouse Liverpool. The victory came courtesy of solid performances from Juan Manuel Vargas, surprise starter Adrian Mutu, in-form winger Marco Marchionni and red-hot goal scorer Alberto Gilardino. Mutu’s inclusion in the starting line-up was doubtful since he was nursing an injury, but he was on hand to score the team’s first and provide glimpses of his skills. The forward is on the right track to recapture his old form following a slow and inconsistent start to the season.
The tifosi at the Stadio Artemio Franchi were certainly treated to a spectacle and Vargas, manning the left-wing position, was the architect of many of the attacks, not to mention his two assists which lead to the goals scored by Riccardo Montolivo and Gilardino. The rumours of his impending departure to join Real Madrid will certainly be a blow to the squad and Coach Cesare Prandelli’s tactics. Vargas has been quite influential in a number of games this season and if he is to move either during the January transfer window or the summer the Gigliati’s management will be hard pressed to find an adequate replacement. On the opposing wing, Marchionni continued his goal scoring exploits, registering the fourth goal and putting in a comfortable display on the flank. Marchionni’s consistency will be a significant contribution if he can keep up his positive displays for the Tuscan club. The former Juventus winger was often referred to as an exciting player yet injuries and inconsistency doomed what could have been a much more promising international career with la Nazionale and in all likelihood pushed him out of the Bianconeri.
In two other notable findings from the rather expected home triumph against Debrecen, injured custodian Sebastien Frey did not feature and was replaced by Vlada Avramov, who failed to impress, and central defender Alessandro Gamberini suffered an untimely injury. Goalkeeper Avramov’s performance was not disastrous by any means, yet he did not exude confidence and seems to be lacking in comparison with the impeccable Frey. It is unfair to compare Vlada with the Frenchman, but an extended absence for Frey could undermine Fiorentina’s drive to a top four finish in the league as well as guaranteeing qualification to the next stage in Europe when the club hosts Lyon on November 24. To make matters more complicated, Coach Prandelli has to contend with the concerns surrounding Gamberini’s injury and the time he is expected to miss. Scans will be conducted to determine the extent of the injury suffered by the Azzurri squad member and Prandelli will have his fingers crossed that the player will not miss out for several weeks.
The disappointments end there since the win allowed the club to inch closer to the next stage in Europe and served as a comforting note ahead of the intriguing away clash with Udinese. With Stevan Jovetić nursing an injury, it is likely that the Mutu-Gilardino tandem will start upfront, with the attacking impetus and support coming from Marchionni and Vargas. There is a slight possibility that Mutu might be sacrificed for a midfielder but central midfielder Cristiano Zanetti was replaced at half-time with Montolivo in a precautionary move which implies the options in midfield are perhaps limited. Prandelli is a shrewd tactician and the line-up he is likely to field will be the least of the tifosi’s concerns, though the defensive department will be short handed if both Frey and Gamberini miss out. In all likelihood, the former will return whilst the latter will not feature, which means the responsibility of restricting Serie A’s top scorer Antonio Di Natale will fall in the hands of la Viola’s reserve defenders with Gamberini’s fellow starter Dario Dainelli out with suspension. Dainelli was shown two yellow cards in the weekend match against Catania meaning he will miss out on the encounter with the Zebrette.
Prandelli will have the unenviable task of reshuffling his back-line in order to contain the opponent’s offensive threats. The Coach knows he cannot risk the fitness of any of his star players with clashes against Parma, Lyon and Inter all looming large in the weeks to come. The onus is on the squad players to prove to the Coach they can fill in the holes left by injuries and suspensions to the starters.
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