La Viola’s draw with Lazio must have felt like a bitter pill to swallow for Coach Cesare Prandelli, with his team wasting a golden opportunity to be joint-top of the standings with Inter Milan and Sampdoria. The Gigliati hosted the club from the Eternal City at the impenetrable Stadio Artemio Franchi but failed to capitalise on Lazio’s inconsistent form, a plethora of injuries, including Julio Cruz, and the suspension of in-demand left-back Aleksandar Kolarov.
Stevan Jovetic was given a start, in light of Alberto Gilardino’s flu-like symptoms, and did pose a threat whenever he had the opportunity, yet his partner upfront Adrian Mutu is clearly struggling for form, as mentioned previously in this segment. The Romanian forward will see the international break as a welcome relief to help him refocus and improve his fitness, in an attempt to recapture his form. A fully committed and worry-free Mutu would have made a difference during the match – whether scoring a goal himself or relieving Jovetic of some of the pressure. The emerging star would have gained from an in-form Mutu by his side, but, with the playing time afforded by Gilardino’s flu, the Montenegrin still confirmed the notion that la Viola have found a gem in the form of Jovetic.
Gilardino did make an appearance however, coming on for Mutu and, in less than half-an-hour, he scored what appeared to be a legitimate goal, though it might have been hard for the referee to confirm. At this point of the season, both Gilardino and Jovetic are in top shape and scoring goals with relative consistency. As discussed previously, the club’s management must delve into the transfer window in January to sign a defender and a forward since Mutu cannot be relied on at this juncture. The club realises the dearth in options upfront, given the current debacle surrounding Mutu, and has successfully launched an appeal to reduce Gilardino’s ban in the Champions League. The Italy striker has already served the reduced one-game suspension and is expected back for the clash with Hungarian club Debrecen. This serves as a welcome boost for Coach Prandelli and offers him the opportunity to start with his best attacking pair in a must-win game against weaker opposition.
Obtaining all six points from the two encounters with the Hungarian outfit will shift the pressure to Lyon and Liverpool and give the Gigliati some breathing room prior to the remaining key matches with both clubs. Attaining all three points in Hungary will go a long ways to maintaining la Viola’s ambition of qualifying beyond the group stages. The positive implications extend beyond the results on the pitch and the satisfaction of the fans – including additional revenue brought in to help cover any signings. The positive result against Liverpool and a consistent Champions League campaign will also help fend off interest in rising star Jovetic, at least in the short-term. Another benefit of playing in Europe’s elite club competition is the strong appeal it has to established players, who want to compete at this high level.
A couple more signings in the mould of Fiorentina’s summer moves would be quite the bargain. Cristiano Zanetti continues to confound – putting in committed displays that belie his age, while also using his vast experience. It came as no surprise when Zanetti’s agent confirmed that Juventus Coach Ciro Ferrara and some of the Bianconeri’s management were against releasing the astute midfielder. The performances of the former Inter and Roma player have been a positive influence on Fiorentina’s season so far, considering his intricate role as a linking point between the defense and attack, as well as his patriarchal role. Zanetti has often been considered the prototype of the hard-working and committed player who lets his drive and dedication offer a fair representation of his worth to the team.
The Tuscan club is establishing itself as a protagonist in the domestic league and has signaled its intent following the victory in Europe against the Reds. Keeping young star Jovetic and surrounding him with capable players like Zanetti and Gilardino will go a long way to confirming la Viola’s status as a potent risk to the established order in Italian football. The skills of Jovetic might be driving the club from Florence on the pitch but the presence of a competent Coach such as Prandelli ensures that players, results and signings are all compatible with the team’s character and policies.
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