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Pioggia Viola : AFC Fiorentina

Started on 20 November 2019 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 26 September 2020 by OohAhCantona


Fiorentina is in desperate need of a revitalized youth system, and this class highlighted all the problems I Viola has with depth beyond the senior squad. As a whole this is not a particularly good class, but there are a few decent players with senior squad upside down the road. The current state of the system is so bad, and needs investment beyond better players, that some of these signings just to the top of the player rankings.

The summer will likely see Daniele Pradè and Vincenzo Montella spend as heavily as possible on youth players who could develop into the future of the club. Right now there doesn’t appear to be a Next Chiesa lurking in Florence, a failure to change that could kill any momentum Montella builds in the next few years.

Abdou Fall (LW/RW - Senegal) - Fall jumps right to the top of Fiorentina’s youth player rankings, but to be fair the current bar is very low. He has a lot of promise though as a two-footed winger capable of playing the Inside Forward position on either side. He’s likely to focus on LW where scouts feel he is more natural, but he could get to the senior squad faster than expected as a highly valued bench option. Physically he is very gifted, with the kind of pace and acceleration that can give defenders problems on the outside and he’s solid on the ball. Mentally he needs to polish his game as bit as he leans on his ability to dribble around players and get into space quickly.

Eugenio Barzini (RW - Italy) - Not that far back of Fall, but lacks the explosive burst that makes him stand out on the field. He is good with the ball and has the technical ability and flair to handle himself when defenders get in close. Scouts and coaches also rave about his determination and work rate on and off the field, he’s also considered to be a future team leader who might wear the Captain’s band one day.

Alberigo Maldini (CB - Italy) - Not to be confused with THE Maldini, or even the other Maldini at Fiorentina, he’s a decent CB. Again, with the depth issues at the club he might be the best CB prospect in Florence now. He’s tailor made for the ball playing defender role, he’s very good at passing and ranks as one of the faster central defenders at the club. He also has decent height, 6’-2”, and like Barzini shows impressive determination and work rate. He is also often described as a Model Citizen, which could only be good for his future development.

Florentino Firenze (RB - Italy) - What an incredible name, this guy was destined to play for I Viola. On top of having an amazing name, he’s also a pretty good player. He’s almost everything Montella could want in a wing back aside from his weakness on the attacking end, which he will need to work on if he plans on making it to the senior squad. He has pace, acceleration, stamina, impressive work rate, and the kind of on-field leadership skills that could land him a Captaincy. He’s already a very good passer, but he really needs to work on his feel of the final third and crossing the ball. If he can learn to get the ball in the from the wings he could be a diamond in the rough, he’s definitely the best youth wingback at the club now and might join Fall on the bench just based on the depth available at the club.
Hopefully those players highlighted will be familiar faces to us within the next few years.
2020-01-17 19:51#265451 ScottT : Hopefully those players highlighted will be familiar faces to us within the next few years.

I might be required by Italian law to keep Florentino Firenze around. I'm desperate for him to match up to his potential, but with my scouts they could be way off.
I hope you Fall in love your new youth products at the club


Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 4 - Atalanta 0

The month of March left I Viola fans on a bit of a high, with a tinge of frustration, I good run of form put them in range of the Europa League but they were so far back of the top teams even winning out wouldn’t move them up the table too much. Starting April with a game against Atalanta would help set the tone for the rest of the season, this game would be a six-pointer for both teams as they fight for 6th.

“How we finish will define our season, surprising the pundits means nothing if we can’t close it out” noted Montella prior to the game.

Something memorable definitely happened today, it only took 11’ for Pedro to stake his claim as Passaggio del Re del Brutto Pacchetto (King of the bad back pass). For what seems like the 100th time, Pedro would intercept a terrible back pass and put it in the back of the net. Fiorentina’s press would combine with Atalanta failing to push up, Pierluigi Gollini would throw the ball out to Simon Kjær who would immediately be pressured by Fiorentina. He would quickly pass to Josip Ilicic who would panic and pass the ball back to Gollini, but Atalanta’s players staying back would play Pedro and Tòfol Montiel onsides and make it much to easy for Pedro to score.

At 22’ Franck Ribéry would start the rout, heading in a nice cross from Erick Pulgar and setting Atalanta on their way to falling apart. Despite a fair amount of possession and a roughly similar total of shots they just couldn’t find their groove and Fiorentina wasn’t giving them particularly good counterattack opportunities. The game would head into the half 2-0 with Atalanta feeling like they had been cheated, perhaps an adjustment or two could help them close things out in the final third.

Gian Piero Gasperini made some adjustments, but they didn’t appear to do anything to benefit the visitors. Things moved on just like the first half, but whatever adjustments were made started the team on a slide they couldn’t come back from. Around 65’ the team was obviously starting to sag, even advanced metrics started to indicate the shift as Fiorentina’s player ratings started to jump over 7.5 on a climb that wouldn’t stop. Almost on cue at 66’ Filip Jagiello would head in a corner for a 3-0 lead, to say Atalanta’s approach to defending it was lazy would be a compliment. Jagiello ended up unmarked and probably could have walked the ball in, Atalanta had been broken and Fiorentina didn’t look like giving them an opportunity to regroup. At 67’ Pedro put the nail in Atalanta’s coffin, receiving a long pass from Jagiello that found him in the middle of four Atalanta defenders. He would be given enough time to turn and shoot, seemingly scoring easily in a 5-on-1 scenario. Atalanta’s defenders standing around looking apathetic would be the enduring image of this game.

The win would put Fiorentina (8) points clear of Atalanta for 6th, hopefully putting them well clear of their only competitor for the final Europa League spot.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 2 - Brescia 2

In hindsight, the game was the turning point. To continue the L’Aeroplanino metaphor, this is the point where some smoke starts coming out of the engines and the pilot would radio for help. Montella would find himself in a terrible position, he would need everyone one of those (8) points Fiorentina held above Atalanta.

Fans who have been paying attention over the last month could be forgiven for forgetting I Viola’s issues with Route One football, winning can do that, but the problem came back in a big way today thanks to the resurrected Mario Balotelli. The version of Balotelli that made the national team and fueled his rise to Manchester City showed up today, not the version that couldn’t put on a warm up bib or set off fireworks in his bathroom. You could argue that those are the same Balotelli, but it wouldn’t matter because Fiorentina had no answer for him. Nikola Milenković and Germán Pezzella would have a terrible time tracking him, giving him opportunities to sneak through and shoot again and again. At 28’ one finally went in after receiving a deep pass from Bruno Martella that started in Brescia’s own third.

Montella was rescued by a nice goal by Federico Chiesa at 33’ after Kevin Prince-Boateng threaded a nice pass to him for what appeared to be an easy goal. Maybe Fiorentina’s domination of possession and rate of shooting was finally going to turn this game in their favor no matter how dangerous Balotelli was. Unfortunately, Chiesa would essentially give that goal right back after an excruciating VAR break that would send Montella into a screaming match with the ref. Chiesa would clip Stefano Sabelli’s ankle as he jogged to the endline, sending the ball out in what appeared to be a goal kick. The review would determine that Chiesa had fouled Sabelli and put Balotelli on the spot for a 2-1 lead.

Things were looking bad right before they got worse, much worse for Montella. At 81’ Aleksa Terzić went down with an ankle injury and Montella literally didn’t have anyone to take his place. Szymon Zurkowski, a midfielder, was sent on to generally occupy the space on the field normally manned by a real LB. The substantial advantage in possession seemed to be pointless by now, it took a miracle 88’ goal from Pedro to escape with a somewhat embarrassing draw. The goal would be his 21st of the season, (18) of them coming in Serie A to lead the league.

Serie A (A) : Bologna 3 - Fiorentina 1

The Appennino Derby would turn out to be the perfect venue for L’Aeroplanino to crash into the mountain. Montella was pressed all week on their collapse against Brescia, and the media was calling for a Bologna victory. Milenković would damage an ankle ligament in practice just a few days before the game, ruling him out for up to (10) days.

Only 11’ into the game Montella would be summoned from the bench to scowl at his team. Riccardo Orsolini would be the benefactor of Fiorentina’s weakened left side, a long pass into Nicola Sansone sucked in Federico Ceccherini and Romaric Guedegbe in the middle and allowed him to lay a perfect pass to Orsolini on the wing for an easy goal. Bartłomiej Drągowski was in Guedegbe’s face immediately, standing in for the injured Terzić was a little beyond his level at the moment. Mattias Svanberg would head one in off a corner in stoppage time to make it 2-0 at the half, but that wasn’t the most concerning issue for Montella. Despite controlling possession as usual, it took 40’ for Fiorentina to register a shot. If that kind of play continued 2-0 might as well be 200-0.

Montella reportedly unloaded on his team at the half, this kind of performance in a derby was unacceptable. Things just kept getting worse as Orsolini would score again at 53’ on an exchange that would have made Montella proud if he was wearing purple. Receiving a pass from the wingback out wide he would fake a cut back outside, getting Ceccherini to turn his hips, and then flick the ball behind him to get it on his left foot and shoot behind Ceccherini’s back. Kevin Prince-Boateng would finally put Fiorentina on the board at 56’ with a goal so stupid it only seemed appropriate for this game. Fiorentina’s press would get Bologna into a bind in the back that would result in an attempted clearance getting deflected into the middle where Chiesa could get a shot off. The ball flew to the left post and Lukasz Skorupski got a hand on it, sending it upwards and hitting the post. The ball hit the crossbar and fell down onto the goal line and stopped. Bologna assumed it went in and nobody moved the ball, but Prince-Boateng was paying attention and walked up and literally rolled the ball over the line to get credit for the goal. Siniša Mihajlović had a fit, first with the refs and then with his team for letting that whole thing happen. He couldn’t stay angry long as the game ended 3-1, and Montella couldn’t head back to Florence fast enough.

This is our concern, Dude.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 0 - Sassuolo 1

If the previous game was a plane crashing into a mountain, this was the ensuing fire that just couldn’t be put out. Montella couldn’t even bring himself to answer questions after the game, storming out as soon as a reporter started to ask a question. Guedegbe would still be starting at LB, and Florentino Firenze would be called up as a bench option. While scouts and coaches have fallen in love with Firenze, and not just because of the name, he is way off from being ready for the senior squad. This is how bad things have become for Montella late in the season, hopefully an important lesson on building squad and organizational depth.

This game rapidly turned into one of the saddest games of the season as Fiorentina dominated possession but literally couldn’t do anything with it. Sassuolo, slight dogs, were more than happy to sit back and soak things in while getting their chances to score. In an appropriate turn of events, Rogério would score an infuriating goal at 34’ by flipping a Fiorentina chance into a Sassulo goal. Rogério would get a deflection off a Fiorentina corner and find the entire field between him and Drągowski empty aside from Gilberto who would provide minimal resistance. Taking the ball nearly from his own penalty box to Fiorentina’s and scoring easily would seem to be the ultimate humiliation for I Viola.

If Montella pressed the idea that the goal they allowed was the lowest they could go, he was dead wrong. At 64’ Rogério would give Gilberto a bit of a kick as he ran by him, the second time he was caught doing so, and earned a second booking and a trip off the pitch. Up a man, Montella saw his opening and directed the team to take a more attacking approach. All this seemed to do was encourage Sassuolo to foul, with two more players getting booked on their way to out-fouling Fiorentina 20:8 on the day. At 84’ Manuel Locatelli would exactly duplicate Rogério’s foul on Gilberto, who would wonder how much worse his day could get, and earn himself a second yellow. Montella had at least six minutes to grab a goal, which seemed like plenty of time up two men. Instead Montella had six minutes to do his best impression of Antonio Conte as he would watch his squad piss away an opportunity to escape from a 1-0 loss at home. The only consolation was that Fiorentina were still (5) points clear of Atalanta in 6th, but the way things are going that won’t be enough and Montella is back to worrying about his job.
some tough results to take after that win against Atalanta mate. any chance we can see some screenies of the youth?
2020-01-19 11:11#265534 walkinshaw : some tough results to take after that win against Atalanta mate. any chance we can see some screenies of the youth?

I'm going to need to incorporate that after the midpoint of next season, same with monthly standings for Serie A. I'm usually half to a full season ahead of my posts.


Serie A (A) : Lazio 3 - Fiorentina 2

When it rains, it pours, at least it does when talking about injuries in Florence. Vincenzo Montella would add to his wingback problems with the loss of Lorenzo Venuti for 5-6 weeks with a sprained knee, essentially ending his season. Add that to the way they finished last month and the last thing anyone wanted was a trip to Lazio. On paper this game was going to be a train wreck for Montella, the only good news was that Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would not be starting, hardly news that would turn the game in Fiorentina’s favor.

Turns out things would have worked out better for Fiorentina if Joaquín Correa had sat out. Just 2’ into the game he would be released right up the middle on a long ball from Marco Parolo, running right by Nikola Milenković and Federico Ceccherini for a demoralizing 1-0 lead. Correa’s name would pop up again at 12’ when he would score again off a corner, this time the ball bounced around in the box and went in off his shin. Great goals count as much as accidental ones, so Montella would already be looking at a 2-0 hole to climb out of. The only player Montella can really rely on stepped up at 18’ with a crazy goal fans have come to expect from him. Pedro would be on the end of a long ball, beating an offsides trap that left him free and clear, but the pass was a little too much as it landed in the goal area and looked to be headed for the endline wide left of the goal. Thomas Strakosha vaguely escorted it to the endline, hands up to show nobody from Lazio had touched it, but Pedro hustled to it and managed to make a left footed shot just as it hit the line. The ball squeaked between Strakosha and the near post, at what appeared to be an impossible angle, and find the far side netting.

As Pedro seems to do, his goal turned things around for Fiorentina and it looked like they could fell their hosts. Things got even more encouraging at 28’ when Ciro Immobile pulled up limping and had to be taken off, with their two best players off the field Montella might have a chance. Montella didn’t need to wait long for his fortunes to change once again, at 34’ a free kick into the box banged around and struck Jony in the knee as he moved to get out of the way and an own goal would make it 2-2. Then, just as quickly as things changed in Montella’s favor, things went firmly against Fiorentina. Dalbert would be booked for shoving Felipe Caicedo, who made the most of it, on a corner and putting Parolo on the spot for a penalty he would not miss.

That was it. After (5) first half goals Simone Inzaghi and Montella could only stalk up and down the sidelines and watch a very Italian game play out. The teams would finish with almost identical statistics with Lazio putting more of their shots on goal, in the end it was a shove and a dramatic fall that decided the game. With Genoa, Juventus, and AC Milan left to finish the season Montella could only really hope for a win in one of those and Atalanta would love it if Fiorentina lost all of them.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 1 - Genoa 2

David Nicola must know some secret that nobody else knows, or at least Inter would like to know. The best guess is the 4-1-2-3 which gives Montella’s 4-2-3-1 approach issues, specifically the midfield destroyer which seems to stop them deep and help turn counter attacks against their weak back line. Whatever the reason, Gian Piero Gasperini would be very happy after today as it looked like Fiorentina might not get another point this season.

As usual Fiorentina came out controlling the ball and shooting quite a bit more than their opponent, ticking up over 60% possession made it look like I Viola would take revenge on Genoa for beating them earlier this year. Lasse Schöne was playing well, but he wasn’t quite destroying the Fiorentina attack as expected. Genoa was barely getting any shots off until they broke through at 32’ when Andrea Pinamonti broke through on a deep ball and put the visitors up 1-0. The return of Germán Pezzella didn’t seem to do any good, but Pedro did his thing and duplicated Genoa’s goal with a deep ball from Pezzalla that put him behind the back line.

The second half continued much like the first, Fiorentina owning the ball and putting many more shots forward than Genoa who seemed comfortable sitting back. At 63’ Pinamonti would put an exclamation point on a humiliating evening when Ionut Radu, the goalkeeper, would tally an assist from a textbook example of Route One football. Radu would boot the ball all the way over Fiorentina’s back line and find Pinamonti for his second goal, it looked too easy. Fiorentina, despite the dominance in possession was giving up excellent scoring chances to Genoa. Until 70’ Genoa was 5/5 on shots on goal, a horrifying defensive lapse. Genoa came into this game 16th in the league, the loss would drop Fiorentina to 7th with no chance of dropping lower as they were (8) points ahead with (2) games left. Perhaps it was coincidental, but Franck Ribéry would announce his intention to retire after the game.

Montella’s season is rapidly slipping away.

Serie A (A) : Juventus 1 - Fiorentina 1

The trip to Turin to face THAT team from Turin was finally upon Fiorentina, expectations couldn’t have been much lower for Montella. After losing to Genoa it was looking like Maurizio Sarri would barely need to lift a finger to take the points he needed to jump Inter for 1st. The fact that Sarri would trot out a 4-1-2-3 didn’t seem to matter, it only enhanced the massive advantage he already had in man power. Pezzalla would be injured during practice and be ruled out for the rest of the season, perhaps this was a good thing based on the problems he had been having.

“We are not giving up!” said Montella before the game. “Of all the teams, we won’t go easy on them.”

There were reports of fans fighting before the game, most assumed the I Viola faithful would put up more of a fight than the players and after 8’ it looked like they were right. Juventus would turn back a Fiorentina attack with Rodrigo Bentancur booting the ball forward only to have Ceccherini head it back, but his header found Paulo Dybala and inadvertently created a 3-on-1 at midfield. Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuaín were both on their side of the half, Dybala would hit Mandzukic who would lay the ball forward to Higuaín. Nobody could catch Higuaín and he scored easily on the isolated Drągowski, things looked rather bleak down 1-0 so early but it didn’t take long for that goal to look like an anomaly.

Despite the lesser players, Fiorentina managed to play their game and held the ball more than Juventus. Montella’s balanced approach was paying off, after the goal Fiorentina managed to play Juventus fairly evenly with Milenković having a very solid game at the back for one. Refusing to get caught out again on the attack worked so well that Fiorentina managed to draw even in stoppage time of the first half with Milenković heading one in off a corner. Juventus still had the quality to come back, but being played evenly like this at home wasn’t a good sign. Sarri even lit a cigarette for the first time all game right after the equalizer, a loss or a draw would deal a severe blow to their title hopes.

Whatever adjustments Sarri made did not work, or at least didn’t work by helping Juventus take over the game as expected. If anything both teams managed to suppress the other more effectively and the game seemed to slow down a bit and take on a more familiar look for Serie A fans. After some excitement in the first half, the second half was fairly dull and played mostly in the midfield with neither team able to form a persistent attack in their opponent’s third. It wasn’t until 70’ that the game, and Allianz Stadium, exploded with what could have been the goal of the season. Tòfol Montiel would score an absolutely stunning goal to put I Viola up 2-1 and stun the hosts. Dalbert would bring the ball up the wing and pass it back across the middle just as he got to the left corner of the box, Juventus’ back line formed up quickly and left a wide area for Filip Jagielo to receive the ball. He would lob the ball into the far side of the box where an unmarked Montiel would rush in and one-time the ball out of the air for a cracking goal. Fiorentina would mob the young RW in celebration, but things turned sour just as quickly as they had tipped in I Viola’s favor. Montella blew his lid when the refs indicated a VAR review, and after a long conference they would disallow the goal for offsides. There was cheering and whistling in equal parts at that call, and Montella looked like he might burst into flames. If he had Sarri wouldn’t have needed a lighter for the cigarette he started just after the announcement.

The game continued on much like it had before the disallowed goal and Juventus became more and more desperate for the winner. Their aggression played into Montella’s hands a bit and they were able to control the ball a little more in Juventus’ end after a failed attack. The whistle blew and Fiorentina’s spirits soared, the draw would hurt Juventus as they would now be (2) back of Inter with a game left. Things got even more exciting for I Viola when Atalanta would draw 1-1 with Sassuolo, putting Fiorentina just (2) points behind them, the point gained would also clinch at least a Europa League playoff spot. How a team that was basically thrashed by 16th place Genoa could stand toe-to-toe with Juventus cannot be explained, maybe the heated nature of the fixture inspired the players. Whatever the reason, it set up a thrilling final day of the season.

Montiel was impressive under pressure, his future seems bright.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 2 - AC Milan 1

Yet another game in the “How Did We Lose To Genoa” saga, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Pedro would enter this game with a decent (2) goal lead on Juventus’ Dybala for Serie A lead scorer, so many hoped he would pad his lead in the event Dybala had a big game. No matter what either one did Fiorentina would need a win to have any chance at moving from the Europe League playoff slot to an automatic bid. One would have expected more vitriol in this matchup with Montella, a former Milan manager, facing former Fiorentina manager Stephano Pioli. In reality it turned out that Milan regarded this game with apathy, locked into 4th place in the league I Rossoneri had little motivation to put in much effort outside of sticking it to Montella.

Apparently the feeling of animosity toward Montella wasn’t enough and Milan folded almost immediately. Just 5’ into the game Fiorentina would open the scoring 1-0 after Federico Chiesa scored what might be his last goal for I Viola on a Pol Lirola cross. The fact that the ball even made it to Chiesa, passing through (5) defenders, was a bad sign for the visitors. I Rossoneri put up a surprisingly listless performance for the remainder of the first half and most of the second, finishing the game with only (5) shots and a paltry 37% possession. Montiel would make it 2-0 at 77’ on a goal that would make Pedro proud. Aleksa Terzić, back from injury, would boot the ball downfield from the left wing deep onto the right side of Milan’s third well away from pretty much anyone. Gianluigi Donnarumma came out of his area and left the box to collect the ball before it went out of bounds, but he didn’t notice Montiel bearing down on him and when he kicked the ball backwards to turn and pass the ball downfield he fed the ball right to Montiel who quickly shot it in from a tight angle, doesn’t get much easier than a one-on-zero.

Rade Krunic would score at 89’ on a terrible defensive lapse by Fiorentina, but all it did was save Milan the embarrassment of being shut out. The loss to Genoa continues to be a mystery, but Montella wasn’t about to give back the points handed to them by Milan. After the final whistle the team would get the news that Atalanta drew 0-0 with Roma and Fiorentina would pass them by a single point for 6th and automatic Europa League qualification. To make things even better Inter would beat Napoli 1-0 to win Serie A over Juventus, a cherry on top of a season that exceeded expectations while also being a bit disappointing.

Suck it Juventus. Suck it long, suck it hard.

Well at least you'll qualify for the europa group stage outright mate but to be honest I'm more shocked at Roma lol wtf is happening there.

Hopefully you can plug up that defence a little next season and turn a few of the losses and draws into wins and avoid the injury bug.
Given the inconsistencies of the season, sixth is a fairly respectable finish. Hopefully injuries won't blight Fiorentina's season as much as they did this campaign next year.


With Vincenzo Montella’s first season back in the books things are looking promising in Florence. Finishing 6th and qualifying for the Europa League exceeded expectations, Montella was tasked with a Top Half finish and continental competition wasn’t on anyone’s mind. The concern will be if Fiorentina can handle domestic and continental competition, too many teams have flown too high to the sun and ended up killing their season trying to manage both. Montella and General Manager Daniele Pradè have a fairly clear path to improving the squad, Fiorentina finished 3rd in scoring but 14th worst defensively. They also finished 1st in yellow cards, but 7th in reds so discipline doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue. Improving the defense will likely be Montella’s only priority, some of those struggles can be blamed on injuries and overall depth as the back so building some quality depth will probably correct a number of issues.

2019-20 Fiorentina Team of the Year

Even though the team struggled as a whole, there were a number of individual seasons worth noting. Pedro comes right to the top after leading Serie A in goal scoring with (20), beating out two Juventus players in Paolo Dybala (18) and Ronaldo (17). Pedro will likely need to shoulder even more weight in 2020-21 with Federico Chiesa very likely to be sold, Montella can count on Pedro for at least a few more years with him under contract for some time. Pol Lirola would also be a pleasant surprise as his work at RB would earn him the Italian Serie A Young Player of the Year award. Along with a few awards three Fiorentina players would be called up for Euro 2020, I Viola has more elite players than they thought. Chiesa (Italy), Bartłomiej Drągowski (Poland), and Filip Jagiello (Poland) would be selected. Jagiello would be the most pleasant surprise after Pradè signed him for a paltry £2.5M, Genoa really let a good player go for very little.

Lirola could be a valuable member of the team for years to come.

Next season is going to be tough, overachieving this year has suped up ownership’s expectations for 2020-21. Going deep in the Europa League, like the semi-final, and staying in qualification for the tournament next year will be a priority. There is also some pressure to reach the Coppa Italia quarter final, but if Montella can keep the club in Europe it might not matter how they do in domestic cup competitions.
A useful update to set the scene ahead of next season. I look forward to it!
Really far off that top five, I am sure you can bridge the gap next season
A tough season overall but still exceeding expectations. Need to build that defense in the summer and there will be a push for the top 5 next year. I do wonder about the discipline not being an issue though. Top of the yellows and well inside the top half of the red cards list, doesn't suggest the best discipline.


After a season that felt like Vincenzo Montella was balancing on a razor’s edge, needing a win on the last day to sneak into 6th place, will Fiorentina be able to cope with greater expectations? The pressure is certainly on in Florence, with owner Rocco Commisso openly touting lofty goals for I Viola and expecting Montella to deliver them. There are some long term goals, like building s new stadium, that depend on the club achieving a higher level of competitive and financial success. Montella and General Manager Daniele Pradè can’t rely on selling their best player(s) for tens of millions every year, so on-field success is going to be needed to attract commercial success.

Realistic dream or purple haze?

This will be the first year Montella really has the power to shape the roster as he pleases and rectify the issues that plagued his first season back. He’s also going to face pressure to stay in Europe, if he can improve his squad staying in the Top 7 shouldn’t be as much of an issue as competing in Europe will be. The depth of his squad will be tested and managing starts will be even more difficult, if Montella can manage to maintain this level of competition he could see Fiorentina grow into a Serie A power and a regular player on the European stage.


What a change a year and a pile of cash makes, the sale of a number of players funded a near total rebuild of the roster. After struggling on offense and inopportune lapses on defense Vincenzo Montella may have fixed their problems and built a squad with the depth and talent to qualify for the Champions League and go deep in the Europa League. Winning Serie A is still years away, but the addition of young talent through transfers should see a vast improvement in the roster down the road.

While Montella did try to recall Alban Lafont (22), Bartłomiej Drągowski (22) has this on lock down and nobody is even close to unseating him. Michele Cerofolini (21) is the clear back up, but that isn’t saying much with the GK depth at Fiorentina. Youngster Umberto Scapin (16) has drawn some transfer interest, but he’s still a number of years away from the first team if he ever makes it that far.

Best Player : Bartłomiej Drągowski

This section of the team has been hit hardest by transfer, in and out, but Montella is betting on the added depth to make up for the lost talent. The two best defenders (Nikola Milenković and Germán Pezzella) are gone after bust ups with Montella, and the players brought in aren’t nearly as good but make up for it by fitting into the system. Armando Izzo (28) comes over from Torino and takes over as the leader in central defense, he will be paired with Lyanco (23) who also comes from Torino. Basically importing Torino’s central defense will help them work well together more quickly, Federico Ceccherini (28) and Jacob Rasmussen (23) return and form the second squad. Matteo Gabbia (20) is a promising talent who will come off the bench as needed or fill in for injured players, if he makes it as a 1st squad regular something has gone terribly wrong.

After a season full of injuries on the outside, Montella finally has a deep stable of wingbacks to stave off the injury bug and handle the increased workload of the Europa League. Pol Lirola (23) retains his starting position at RB with Gilberto (27) taking up the backup role. Lorenzo Venuti (25) will come off the bench and fill in for injuries as needed. Luca Pellegrini (21) comes over from Juventus and represents a solid upgrade at LB over the departed Dalbert, Cristiano Biraghi (27) is a solid second choice and then things get really bad for Fiorentina. The incredibly named Florentino Firenze (17) is a bench option and U-20 team regular, he has a lot of potential but the depth beyond Pellegrini and Biraghi is so bad that Firenze actually represents a massive upgrade.

Best Player : Armando Izzo

Midfield is an area of the field that could either be a strength or a serious problem, mostly because of a lack of depth beyond some very good 1st and 2nd squad players. Erick Pulgar (26) returns to man the DLP position with Filip Jagiello (23) backing him up, the two are fairly equal in Montella’s mind so they might flip squads depending on form. Captain Marco Benassi (25) is the BBM with pleasant surprise Gaetano Castrovilli (23) as backup and capable 1st squad starter. Beyond this group of deeper lying midfielders, things get really dark. Special circle of hell dark, the next best DLP/BBM is Ivan Castro (16) who just came to Fiorentina from Portugues side Rio Ave.

The CAM is in good hands and will need two to three injuries before Montella will be forced into fielding guys who have no business being on the field. Evander (22) comes over from FC Midtjylland and represent a solid upgrade over Kevin Prince-Boateng (33) who has been relegated to a bench option. Pelayo Morilla (19), once rejected by the board for not being Italian, made a return and has the potential to be a superstar. Going from a 33-year old to two solid players 22 or younger is going to be a huge help.

Best Player : Marco Benassi (Captain)

The forwards, specifically the wide players, are a bit of a mixed bag but should be better than last year. Both wings have a bunch of fresh faces and has the same depth problems as LB. Riccardo Orsolini (23) comes over from Bologna and takes over the RW role, pushing Tòfol Montiel (20) to the 2nd squad and emergency CAM. Federico Ricci (26) comes over from Sassuolo and represents a solid bench option with youngster Eugenio Barzini (17) lurking. LW Martin Terrier (22) comes over from Olympique Lyon and takes over for the recently departed Federico Chiesa and retired Franck Ribéry, Riccardo Sottil (21) returns but he will have to beat out Brazilian wonderkid Talles Magno (18) for a starting slot. Magno could be a massive snag and well worth the risk. Youngster Abdou Fall (17) has managed to earn a bench spot, but like LB (and Barzini) the talent in the organization is so thin these guys are literally the next best options.

The CF position is likely Montella’s most dependable and completely unchanged from last year. Pedro (23) has been elevated to Vice-Captain and might be the best player on the roster, Dušan Vlahović (20) is a solid backup who managed to flourish in Montella’s system despite scouts being less than impressed with him. Degnand Wilfried Gnonto (17) is probably next in line and could be a superstar after coming over from Inter last year, he’s being loaned out so Montella might need to rely on players who have played CF before like Terrier if Pedro or Vlahović are out for an extended period of time. There is an incredible amount of young talent at Fiorentina after some targeted investment, but all of them are 17 or younger and won’t be ready for the senior squad for years.

Best Player : Pedro (Vice-Captain)

Can Pedro carry the team again?

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