OCTOBER : INVINCIBLE!
Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 3 - Sampdoria 0
There must be something in the water in Florence, because Montella is heading for an incredibly brutal run of games with a growing list of injuries and suspensions. Pol Lirola would sit out the game due to accumulated yellow cards and make way for Lorenzo Venuti to man RB. His reign would be short and painful, setting in motion a positional crisis Montella will be lucky to get through.
Just 7’ into the game Venuti would pull up limp and crumple to the ground holding his calf. His removal would bring on a surprised Martín Cáceres who was already upset Venuti had been selected to start, but he didn’t fare much better. At 26’ Cáceres would be involved in a violent collision with Jakub Jankto, leaving both of them rolling on the pitch in pain. Jankto would rise, clearly unharmed, and Cáceres would need to be gingerly escorted from the pitch with what would later turn out to be broken ribs. Some finger pointing and aggressive gesticulating with the ref, along with some light shoving of Jankto, would not produce a card. Montella would send on Luca Ranieri to fill the air space voided by his two RB and pray for mercy.
As it turned out, Sampdoria would be the ones in need of mercy. Despite the mess Fiorentina came alive as Pedro and Franck Ribéry would score along with an own goal by Emil Audero to put the hosts up 3-0. Sampdoria never looked like a threat outside of the Cáceres-Jankto incident, they didn’t do any damage during the game but the injuries might have put Fiorentina in a tough spot going forward. Taking over 2nd place in Serie A did little to settle Montella’s mood.
Pedro continues scoring to keep Fiorentina afloat.
Serie A (A) : Torino 1 - Fiorentina 1
A trip to Turn was definitely not what Fiorentina needed after a long international break. Despite not playing that team from Turin, their fans were more than happy to turn out and remind the Fiorentina fans they aren’t welcome here. Luckily, a win over the Turin team they were playing was in the cards even though the international break left Montella with even less to work with.
With RB as thin as possible RW now sat on a razor’s edge with Frederico Chiesa recently recovering from a thigh injury suffered on Italy duty. Rachid Ghezzal, his primary backup, had already been ruled out for 3-6 weeks with an ankle injury suffered while playing for Algeria. To make things even worse Dalbert would be out on a suspension for accumulating yellow cards, at this rate Montella would need to put on his boots.
Just 13’ into the game Pedro, sometimes going as Santo Pedro among fans, did his thing and scored to give Fiorentina the lead. Things continued to look good for the visitors, controlling possession and rolling toward a solid shots, until Montelle went through the worst six minutes of the season. First Cristian Ansaldi ran through Marco Benassi and Pol Lirola like they were a wet tissue and let loose a shot from the far corner of the box that crossed Bartłomiej Drągowski and tucked into the far side netting. The nightmare came to a peak when Chiesa pulled up lame and crumpled to the pitch holding his calf before being helped off.
The 1-1 scoreline concealed Iago Falqué’s great game on the way to a PoM award as he pulled the strings for Torino. He provided the assist on Ansaldi’s goal and (4) key passes, the only way Fiorentina could slow his down was by kicking him… literally. I Viola would dominate in the foul department, registering (19) to help the entire back line leave this game with a yellow. Montella could only sit with fire in his eyes as the game wound down and he had to swallow another draw that should have been three point.
Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 2 - Inter 0
Perhaps a visit from league leading Inter was not the best thing for Fiorentina right now, especially after a road game in Turin. Chiesa’s injury would keep him out 2-3 weeks, leaving Montella with only Riccardo Sottil at RW and Valentin Eysseric as a last resort. Despite the laundry list of problems, Inter would walk out of Artemio Franchi wondering if they was something in the water.
The first half was all Fiorentina, boring and devoid of remarkable events but clearly in Fiorentina’s command. Inter managed only (2) shots before the half and none of them were on target. The most entertaining element of the first half was Antonio Conte, who exploded on his players and dwarfed Montella’s reactions to shots that were easily handled by Samir Handanovic. No doubt Conte’s version of the hair dryer was on order at halftime.
It wasn’t until 65’ that the stalemate would be broken, giving Stefan de Vrij the cherry on top of his horrible evening. On his way to a 5.9 rating he would be constantly haunted by Pedro, and lazily collecting the ball from Handanovic would blossom into a disaster. Pedro would snag the ball from him and quickly get off a long distance shot that would fly past an unprepared Handanovic for a 1-0 lead. De Vrij would be greeted by a shower of whistles from the visitor section, a short lecture from Handanovic, and a furious tirade from Conte.
Conte would put up more of a fight than his players.
Fiorentina would finally be able to hold a 1-0 advantage into stoppage time, and a late goal from Eysseric of a throw in would seal a 2-0 victory. The shock win would make it (5) matches unbeaten and see I Viola to 4th in Serie A only (4) points back of 1st place Inter.