It could not be a more exciting time to be a fan of Fiorentina at the moment. They currently occupy fourth spot in Serie A only four points off leaders Inter and are second in their Champions League group, three points ahead of Liverpool and looking in fine form in both competitions.
A creditable draw against third placed Juventus was followed on Tuesday night with an action packed 4-3 win away at Debrecen and with all their forwards hitting the net at the moment this could be a bad time to play the Viola. Napoli’s Walter Mazzarri has addressed his team’s problems perfectly this week, he stated that they need to achieve consistency and that means only focusing on the up and coming game whilst not dwelling on the defeat or victory that preceded it. Napoli in fact did win 2-1 at home against Bologna last week but the unpredictable nature of the Azzurri means that they lie in 14th position in the league, and not being able to achieve a run of victories.
Fiorentina have only been beaten once in the league campaign this season and that was away in Rome when Francesco Totti took in upon himself to perform at his best and turn the game. Other than that the Viola have been in exemplary form and their league position shows this. Come the weekend the ever dependable Sebastian Frey will start in goal with the back line staying the same as that which drew in Turin. No injuries will mean that Riccardo Montolivo and Cristiano Zanetti will start on the wings whilst the midfield will be finished off with Juan Vargas and Marco Marchionni holding in the centre. The forward line will not change from the front two that played on Tuesday. Goals from Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino will mean that these two will start despite the memorizing form of Stevan Jovetic who of late has produced some of Fiorentina’s most exciting form this term.
3 Dainelli – 5 Gamberini –19 Gobbi – 25 Comotto
15 Zanetti – 18 Montolivo – 6 Vargas – 32 Marchionni
10 Mutu – 11 Gilardino
When the Neapolitan’s are good they are very good but unfortunately for Walter Mazzarri when they are bad they are horrid. Victories against Siena, Livorno and Siena have been tarnished by defeats at Inter, Roma, Genoa and Palermo. Napoli have been consistent on one thing and that is their line up. It has not differed too much this term and with players such as Morgan De Sanctis in goal, Paolo Cannavaro in defence, and midfielders such as Marek Hamsik and Cristian Maggio it is obvious as to why Napoli like to have a settled eleven. Add this to the striking force of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Fabio Quagliarella and the questions have to be ‘why have the Azzurri not been picking up more points’. One of these reasons could be the want of Mazzarri to play a 3-5-2 formation, as this could explain the amount of goals they have leaked at the back. Even if a more defensive formation was adopted against the bigger teams such as the likes of Inter and Roma, consistency may be achieved.
26 De Sanctis
28 Cannavaro – 96 Contini – 14 Campagnaro /p>
15 Dátolo – 17 Hamsik –23 Gargano – 6 Aronica – 11 Maggio
7 Lavezzi – 27 Quagliarella
It is hard to see any other result than a Fiorentina victory come the weekend. Napoli’s indifferent form added to a vulnerable defence put up against Mutu, Gilardino and company, and their attacking prowess leaves the term ‘home win’ on everyone’s lips. However, Napoli are, as stated, an unknown force and on their day even if in the cauldron that is the Stadio Artemio Franchi they can produce a performance. The cry from the Napoli camp is that all the work starts in Florence and they will no doubt be resolute in their approach. Meanwhile the home team can enter the game knowing that a win will keep them in contention with the leading pack. Cesare Prandelli as many Florentines may not have expected this, but now they believe it, and with the fortunes of the Viola in the past decade there is no reason why a title win this year would be the crowning glory for what is if nothing else a dramatic club. Before anyone gets carried away however, they have the task of beating a team more noticeable as Pandora’s Box.