On Saturday we shall see the season’s first Derby di Toscana between newly promoted Livorno and Cesare Prandelli’s Fiorentina. The last time these two sides clashed back in September 2007 at the Armando Picchi, la Viola ran out 0-3 winners thanks to Mario Santana and a brace from Pablo Osvaldo. At the end of the 2007/08 season, Livorno were relegated to Serie B but bounced straight back into the top flight to set up this mouth watering game.
As a consequence of the defeat to Bologna on Wednesday there is bound to be some changes to the starting line-up. Romano Perticone should replace Dario Knežević in the centre of defence after his injury problems, in an attempt to help tighten up the leaky back-line which has conceded seven goals in five games. Nico Pulzetti will regain his starting place as he comes in for Luigi Vitale in midfield. Mozart, the little Brazilian magician, is unlikely to start the derby given his lack of form of late. Coach Vittorio Russo has been impressed by his young talent, Antonio Candreva, who he believes has great potential. He will retain his position behind the two front men.
1 De Lucia
77 Raimondi – 2 Perticone – 17 Miglionico – 46 Pieri
7 Pulzetti – 21 Moro – 3 Filippini
10 Tavano – Lucarelli
After the impressive display against Sampdoria in midweek, Prandelli will look to bolster the energy levels of his starting XI. Adrian Mutu should replace Stevan Jovetic, even though the Serbian fantasista put on a master class of a display on Wednesday night, which included a goal. These two players continue their constant tussle as both fantasisti look to cement their place in the first-team. In the centre of the park, Marco Donadel and Riccardo Montolivo battle it out for a chance to start the derby. Alberto Gilardino is guaranteed his place up front as he looks to keep up his impressive displays with three goals in five games.
25 Comotto – 5 Gamberini – 3 Dainelli – 19 Gobbi
4 Donadel – 15 Zanetti
32 Marchionni – 10 Mutu – 18 Vargas
Livorno is suffering from a lack of attacking prowess, with their last goal being scored by Cristiano Lucarelli back in Week 2. Francesco Tavano and Lucarelli pose a lethal combination on paper but the results have not been seen on the pitch. This toothless attack is not down merely to the front men as the creative forces in midfield have not been producing good enough service. The gradual improvements in Candreva’s play could offer the added dimension that is needed to unlock a solid back-line like that of Fiorentina, but the strikers must be clinical. La Viola will look to take the three points from their neighbours with their dynamic wide men, Juan Manuel Vargas and Marco Marchionni, supplying the Romanian fuoriclasse Mutu and Gilardino with good quality balls. ‘Gila’ poses a massive threat to the Livorno defence as he looks to continue his hot vein of form and further impress Marcello Lippi in a World Cup year. The drama of a derby game means anything could happen on Saturday night as the form book can be of little significance in these types of games. Expect a cagey affair to start with, but the superior quality of the team from Florence should come through and see them take the three points in the end.