Coach Cesare Prandelli put on a brave face following the 1-0 Coppa Italia defeat to Inter. Fiorentina did not deserve to lose as the match’s only goal came after Cesare Natali’s error in judgment. Natali’s mistake aside, it seemed unlikely the Nerazzurri would find a way to score against Sebastien Frey who made a couple of saves to keep the tie balanced. Fiorentina will have a chance to overturn the result when the two teams meet at the Stadio Artemio Franchi for the return leg.
The match witnessed the debut of Mario Bolatti as a starter following his cameo appearance against Palermo while youngster Adem Ljajic made his second appearance as a late substitute in Fiorentina colours. Prandelli is gradually but effectively blending in the new signings knowing he will be calling upon most of the players in his rotation given the squad is feeling the side effects of a pileup in fixtures. The Gigliati are hovering around mid-table in Serie A and are still in the Champions League not to mention the Italian cup’s return leg.
The unfortunate incident with forward Adrian Mutu brought undesired attention upon the club and comes at a critical time when the Gigliati are facing a difficult stretch beginning with this weekend when Roma pay a visit to Florence. This will be a significant clash given the Giallorossi are 10 points clear of la Viola so a defeat will put Fiorentina in an unenviable position of having to win the majority of their remaining games to claim a top four finish. The league table reveals there will be tight competition for most of the positions beyond the first place which is effectively sealed by Inter barring a sudden collapse. During the next month Fiorentina will embark on a hectic mission to keep their hopes alive in Serie A (to make next year’s Champions League) and to try and extend their run in the Champions League.
In the four weeks ahead, the Gigliati will play eight matches including two home games against Milan and Juventus not to mention the two-legged Round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich. Prandelli declared he was proud after the way his players performed in the defeat to Inter but he certainly seems like a worried leader who is trying to comfort and build the morale of his troops. Besides Mutu’s ban, the Coach has had to contend with the recent drop of form faced by two of his stars Juan Manuel Vargas and Alberto Gilardino. The two influential players have been rather passive in the last couple of outings by their lofty standards as Vargas has not attacked with the same relentlessness while Azzurri striker Gilardino has lost his scoring touch. The fatigue resulting from the congested fixture list has certainly played a major role as have the injuries suffered by the team. One player whose return will be crucial is Alessandro Gamberini who played fairly well against the Nerazzurri and who is working diligently to regain match fitness following time on the sidelines.
With Romanian Mutu likely to be serving a ban imposed by CONI, new signing Keirrison will have the opportunity to prove his value to the club as he is on a long-term loan spanning two years. The Brazilian striker was actually wanted by Milan as Coach Leonardo admitted which shows the Gigliati management and particularly transfer guru Pantaleo Corvino are working efficiently to secure the suitable players for the Florence outfit. Considering the restrictions on spending and the smaller budget when compared to sides such as Juventus and Milan, la Viola were able to outfox the more illustrious Rossoneri and lure the young Brazilian. The club did invest in the transfer window with particular focus on the midfield with Bolatti and Ljajic joining the side along with defender Felipe Dias from Udinese (on loan). The addition of Keirrison comes as an obvious move to offset the uncertainty surrounding the status of Mutu.
Prandelli faces the tough task of assimilating the newcomers and getting them accustomed to his tactics while ensuring the Gigliati do not lose sight of the main objective which is to make the Champions League next season. If la Viola fail to make Europe’s elite competition for next year then they will risk losing a chunk of money from revenue associated with the group stages in the Champions League as well as perhaps be forced to let go of some of their prized assets such as Vargas and young star Stevan Jovetic. Prandelli will be eager to put an end to the current funk engulfing the club due to the mediocre results in recent weeks.
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