Another solid performance, capped by a decisive brace, has catapulted Stevan Jovetic into the spotlight once more and confirmed his rising star. The prodigy from Montenegro has displayed his immense potential on a number of occasions and, on Tuesday, he went a step further with his expertly executed double against Liverpool.
Stevan Jovetic is a name that will be long remembered, provided the youngster remains grounded and does not let the added attention, as well as glowing praise, get to his head. His brilliant showing was crucial in Fiorentina’s victory over Liverpool and went a long way to denting the English club’s morale – his second goal came less than ten minutes after the opening strike ensuring the Reds were left in an unenviable situation away from Anfield. The Montenegro international has received a lot of praise since the beginning of the season and he is certainly justifying his tag as one of the hottest emerging properties in Serie A and Europe. Jovetic is drawing comparisons with former Fiorentina and Italy legend Roberto Baggio, whose spell with la Viola saw him rise to cult status amongst the Fiorentina faithful. The Tuscan club’s environment is less intense compared to those of the traditional powers of Italian football, which, coupled with tutelage of astute Coach Cesare Prandelli, will give the rising star plenty of opportunities to grow and hone his skills.
While Jovetic’s stunning display might have captured the headlines and pleased Coach Prandelli, the overall performance is what will have assured the coaching staff most of la Viola’s steady progress after an erratic run, particularly away from Stadio Artemio Franchi. The manner of the victory, a clean sheet against a strong and high-octane offense which included Fernando Torres, is further evidence of the strides the players have taken in terms of believing in the Coach’s philosophy and understanding his strategies. The solid home record of Fiorentina, undefeated in Florence so far this season, and including some impressive wins against Liverpool and Sampdoria, should see credit distributed amongst the Gigliati players, in particular, to holding midfielder Cristiano Zanetti and outstanding custodian Sebestien Frey. Zanetti’s signing from Juventus could yet prove to be one of the shrewdest moves of the off-season. The former Inter player has provided his new club with composure, experience and a calming presence.
Prandelli’s charges must have received a tremendous boost in morale following what can be deemed as Fiorentina’s most difficult and important encounter of the season up to this date. The players passed the stern test with flying colours and the Coach’s concerns must now focus on maintaining freshness, with limited alternatives on the bench in both the defensive and offensive departments. While Jovetic and Italy’s Alberto Gilardino have both delivered at this point, Romania’s Adrian Mutu still appears unconvincing. In the clash against the Reds, the former Chelsea and Bianconeri player was the least impressive among la Viola’s players. His dip in form and inconsistent showings must be causing Prandelli some concern, since Mutu appears to be over his physical injuries, yet the emotional and psychological hindrance is still quite evident. Prandelli might be hoping that by playing him often, the player can ride out the storm of controversy caused by his bitter legal battle with Chelsea. The Tactician’s other recourse is to rest the star player and give him some time off to regain his focus and capture his old form.
Moving on to this weekend’s fixture, la Viola play host to Lazio in another hotly contested encounter, between two teams vying for a top four finish. The Biancocelesti have suffered from indifferent form following an impressive start to the season, which included a triumph over Inter Milan in the Italian Super Cup. Despite the inconsistency of the Aquile, Fiorentina’s players must be careful not to overlook this fixture and Prandelli will be sure to remind his squad that Lazio tested Juventus throughout their clash, before capitulating to the Turin club. La Viola’s cause will be helped by the return of striker Gilardino who was suspended for the Champions League match against Liverpool. The return of the player could tempt Prandelli to rest Jovetic and start Mutu upfront in another attempt to inject some confidence into the Romanian’s flailing scoring boots.
The irony at this stage of the season is that since club Chief Andrea Della Valle stepped down from his post, his former team has won three matches on the trot to take a positive step towards achieving what the club’s tifosi have their heart set on – a top four finish and qualification from the group stage in the Champions League!
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