Despite achieving a precious home victory the Gigliati have little to celebrate as the players continue to struggle to put away weaker sides and have become overtly exposed at the back. Fiorentina actually needed a valiant comeback in the fiery Tuscan derby to overcome local rivals Livorno. The visitors had a player sent-off which certainly helped but Coach Cesare Prandelli’s troops must be commended for digging deep into their reservoir of energy, pride and commitment to record this valuable 2-1 win.
The hotly-contested match featured some positive signs for Prandelli. Most promising is the fact Alberto Gilardino has rediscovered his scoring touch, registering the winning goal. The clash also marked the return of midfield general and anchorman Cristiano Zanetti after an extended period on the sidelines due to injury. Zanetti’s experience will come in handy having played for such elite sides like Inter and Juventus. Peruvian Juan Manuel Vargas was another notable contributor as he fired in the crucial equaliser.
This victory is a massive morale booster given the well-documented struggles faced by la Viola in recent weeks. Prandelli must have been pleased with the performances of certain players but he will be keeping a close eye on the side’s defensive frailties. The preparation ahead of the Bayern Munich return leg in Florence will feature a challenging stretch of fixtures including visits from Milan and Juventus as well as a trip to Rome to take on Lazio. Mathematically the Gigliati are still with a chance to make the top four in the league but realistically the club’s objectives may have to be altered to focus on the fifth spot while still working hard to remain in pursuit of fourth place and Champions League qualification.
It is looking increasingly like Fiorentina must do the improbable and triumph in the Champions League in order to return to the competition next season. This is highly unlikely considering the injuries suffered by the club as well as the quality of the opposition, not to mention the tough schedule in the Italian league. Tomorrow’s clash with Milan will be a tough test with Rossoneri Coach Leonardo fighting to fend off criticism while la Viola will aim to continue the road to recovery by achieving another precious victory. Prandelli insisted the players will be focused on Livorno and the victory validated his statement to a certain extent so he is sure to invoke the same sentiment by claiming the squad will be motivated to overcome the visitors who are in third place.
One player who would certainly love to score against Milan is Gilardino who might feel he has a point to prove after his relatively uneventful stint at the San Siro. Gilardino was almost written off by the critics, fans and the Press while he was stationed in Milanello. The Azzurri striker proved he had a lot left in him when he signed with la Viola and fired them to victories in both the league and European competition. He was particularly impressive towards the end of Italy’s qualifying campaign to the World Cup and will certainly feature in South Africa 2010 unless injured or facing an unexpected ban.
Speaking of suspensions there is still no verdict on whether Adrian Mutu will be able to return to playing soon but Prandelli is wise enough to acknowledge he must act as if the talented Romanian is unlikely to feature again this season. This is precisely why the Coach is gradually assimilating the likes of young loan signing Keirrison into the lineup. The Brazilian striker featured for close to 15 minutes against Livorno. Fellow January signing Adem Ljajic was brought in at the start of the second-half while Argentine midfielder Mario Bolatti started again before being replaced by the returning Zanetti.
The pieces are slowly but surely falling in place for Prandelli and the Milan match could be a potential revival point to the squad or it could be an obstacle which ends the club’s ambition of finishing in the top four in Serie A. Victory against the Rossoneri will signal the beginning of a fresh start and will perhaps be considered one of the biggest results of the season behind the triumphs against Liverpool in Europe.
Winning can do wonders for the team and can definitely reduce the intensity of rumours directed at the club with the reports claiming Prandelli will be leaving at the end of the season gradually decreasing after the solid performance in Europe and following the derby win over the weekend.
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