Fiorentina vs. Lazio – Where eagles dare?

Fiorentina are in fine form at the moment and seem to be relishing playing against anyone right now. Only once this season have la Viola been cut down to size, by an in-form Roma and more importantly an in-form Francesco Totti. Victory over Liverpool on Tuesday night, even without the suspended Alberto Gilardino, will no doubt give Cesare Prandelli’s men renewed optimism and vigour when it comes to taking on Lazio this weekend at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Lazio on the other hand have not won in the last four league games and, coupled with poor European form, the Biancocelesti will have to dig deep when travelling to Florence if they hope to get a result. Davide Ballardini’s men had started the season so well, with victory in the SuperCoppa followed by consecutive league wins, however, a defeat at home to Juventus hurt them as the response needed in the next game against Catania was not there and they have under-performed ever since.

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Fiorentina– La Viola’s line-up will probably be identical to that which played so well in the defeat of Liverpool this week. Prandelli however, will have one major headache when it comes to selecting his first XI – this will revolve around his forward line and who to start up front. Adrian Mutu has only netted once this season, but his ability to supply and create makes him a must when looking ahead to the weekend. Gilardino having been suspended for the Champions League tie will expect to slot right back into the fold, after all, his four goals in nine starts and his performances have helped Fiorentina sit where they are today and he is no doubt one of their biggest assets. If these two start however, then what of Stevan Jovetic? He scored twice to sink Liverpool and played superbly all game, the boy wonder from Montenegro has scored six times this campaign and will surely show his discontent if selected to start on the bench.

1 Frey


25 Comotto – 3 Dainelli – 5 Gamberini – 19 Gobbi


32 Marchionni – 15 Zanetti – 18 Montolivo – 6 Vargas


10 Mutu – 11 Gilardino


Lazio– The game against Palermo was one that Lazio should have won. They performed well, creating a lot of chances and this should inject some confidence into the camp. Lazio adopted a 4-3-3 for that game, but against an in-form Fiorentina side, it is more likely that Lazio will revert back to the 4-4-2 that had been used by Davide Ballardini for most of the season. The goalkeeper’s error in the previous game will not go against him in the eyes of the Lazio faithful – he has been a revelation this season and in impressive form. The back four also will most likely be unchanged, as Lazio have slipped up through individual errors or bad luck, rather than imploding from the back. The Lazio boss is more likely to use Julio Cruz as an impact substitute rather that starting him in a three-pronged attack, the front two will likely be Mauro Zárate and Pasquale Foggia.

86 Muslera


2 Lichtsteiner – 13 Siviglia – 87 Diakité – 11 Kolarov


23 Meghni – 6 Dabo – 33 Baronio – 8 Matuzalem


10 Zárate – 17 Foggia


Fiorentina are the team in form and have home advantage, they claimed a big scalp in the Champions League by disposing of Liverpool in style and have almost too many options up front – they look to have all the ingredients needed to gain victory over a stuttering Lazio. However, Lazio are not far off regaining their form from the first three games and they will be aware of Fiorentina’s possible over-confidence – if they can create as many chances as they did last week against Palermo, la Viola could be in for a tough time. It is a game that could transform both teams’ seasons – should Fiorentina win they will seriously be considering a title challenge, whereas if Lazio gain all three points, a Champions League place will seem possible again. With both teams capable of excellent attacking football, this could be one of the picks of the weekend.

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