Coach Cesare Prandelli spoke of fixture congestion and injuries in his attempt to review the 3-0 defeat inflicted by Palermo. His players were utterly outclassed and visibly short on creativity and endeavor. Only Sebastien Frey emerged from this humbling experience relatively unscathed as he performed a number of saves to keep the score from ballooning further.
While Prandelli was right to cite his side’s physical difficulties as one of the reasons behind the heavy loss, the squad is not as deep as desired, given the recent defensive signing Felipe Dias da Silva was vastly liable along with his partner in crime Alessandro Gamberini. The Brazilian Felipe put in a performance more worthy of a non-league side after committing unacceptable errors while Gamberini was chasing ghosts as he struggled to cope with the Rosanero attacking duo of Fabrizio Miccoli and Abel Hernandez. It must be a concern seeing how easily Felipe was outplayed in every department, but Gamberini’s struggles can be attributed to his recent return from injury. The centre-back was sidelined for several weeks and will need to time to recover his full fitness.
Injuries have hampered the Gigliati’s season but most of the players were available to compete with the exception of the often injured Cristiano Zanetti. The more experienced players such as Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino failed to shine while Riccardo Montolivo and Juan Manuel Vargas seemed short on ideas and posed little threat going forward. Prandelli can refer to having played six matches in 18 days (rate of one game every three days) but such are the demands of modern football with other clubs having to do the same. To their credit the Gigliati have been active on the market signing midfield duo Mario Bolatti and Adem Ljajic. It would not be a surprise to see them feature in the upcoming match in some capacity as they are likely to continue the process of blending in. The Argentina international Bolatti did in fact get his first taste of Italian football in Fiorentina colours as he made a cameo appearance towards the end of the match.
Against the Sicilians Mario Santana and Marco Donadel performed poorly allowing Palermo to take the initiative in the middle of the park to direct pinpointed attacks against Fiorentina’s defence. The Argentine Santana has been linked with a move away from Florence and the recent midfield signings might signal the end of his journey with the Tuscan outfit. The Coach’s main concern will not be in the midfield or attack but rather in defence. Despite not scoring the Gigliati have enough firepower with Mutu, Gilardino and the returning Stevan Jovetic capable of threatening the best defences with their prowess. In defence the core players Gamberini, Dias and Lorenzo De Silvestri all featured with only Manuel Pasqual absent. Defenders Gianluca Comotto and Per Kroldrup have seen ample time this season for various reasons but both are on the wrong side of 30 and the latter has been consistently linked with a move away from Italy. The club engaged in heavy reinforcements for the midfield but only brought Felipe for defensive purposes and perhaps the management should look into bringing in another defender, or a couple more in case the Danish Kroldrup is offloaded.
Alternatively Coach Prandelli could switch back the Peruvian Vargas to his natural position as a left-back to create a more balanced side while making available another spot for a midfielder or an attack minded player such as Jovetic. By pushing back Vargas, Prandelli can opt for a three pronged attack composed of Mutu, Gilardino and Jovetic or he can simply bring in Bolatti without compromising the playing time of regulars such as Montolivo. Vargas can still go on his marauding runs on the left flank to deliver inviting crosses or unleash a venomous shot on target.
The concern at this stage remains Fiorentina’s mediocre standing, as a 10th spot finish in the table leaves the club with no European competition next season. The club’s inconsistent domestic form has gravely harmed their chances to qualify to the Champions League. The once impenetrable Stadio Artemio Franchi has already witnessed three of the club’s league defeats including the embarrassing loss to Bologna (their first away win of the season!). Prandelli must quickly address the fluctuation in league performances before it becomes a pandemic.
Unfortunately the schedule only gets tougher with Cagliari, Roma and Sampdoria all next up on the menu. On the flip side, winning all three matches would reignite Fiorentina’s domestic charge for a top four finish.
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