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Pioggia Viola : AFC Fiorentina

Started on 20 November 2019 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by OohAhCantona


Serie A (A) : Empoli 2- Fiorentina 1

If Fiorentina fans thought the opening 3-3 draw against Juventus was a sign of good things to come, the Europa League draw should have told them otherwise. If they were still optimistic, the Derby Arno would really set everyone straight. The first boot to drop was Lyanco injuring his achilles tendon, literally the day after the transfer window closed, ruling him out for (4) months. As if losing one of your most important defenders wasn’t bad enough, Evander (hernia, 2-3 weeks) and Martin Terrier (knee ligament, 2-3 weeks) would join him for a chunk of time. Vincenzo Montella picked the second squad for this game, leaving the first fresh for a visit to Tottenham, and they were already looking sad with Matteo Gabbia forced into the starting lineup.

Right out of the gate I Viola looked flat, by all accounts Empoli were the inferior team but Fiorentina wasn’t asserting themselves. They managed to possess the ball more, but most of it happened in their own third or with the midfielders passing back and trying to restart the attack. It only took 22’, and a span of two minutes, for this game to turn into a trainwreck for Montella. Johnathan Goiano brought the ball up the right side, lost the ball in the box to a Federico Ceccherini slide tackle, and had Cristian Espinoza sweep up the right sideline and send the ball right back into the box for Goiano to knock it in. Montella’s fury that a player who was just relieved of the ball was allowed to run free and score was quickly erased by the shock of watching Alberto Brignoli, the goalkeeper, notch an assist on the second goal at 24’. Brignoli booted the ball from inside his own box, sending it over Gabbia’s head as he took a terrible position for the ball, and found Leonardo Mancuso streaking into Fiorentina’s box. Bartłomiej Drągowski was caught in no-man’s land, a step from the penalty spot, and Mancuso easily lobbed it over him for a stunning 2-0 lead.

Fiorentina was playing so poorly that Montella pulled Riccardo Sottil at 40’ for Talles Magno, they desperately needed some semblage of an attack. By the time they went into the tunnel they had allowed only three shots by Empoli and two of them went in, they couldn’t have looked more destined for relegation. A number of playering posted on social media that Montella didn’t even yell at them at the half, he just stood there silently until it was time to go back out. If that’s true, it’s likely a tactic he won’t be using again in the future as the team played as flatly in the second half as they did in the first. Tòfol Montiel managed to salvage some respectability by scoring at 78’, but it never really seemed like Fiorentina was going to come back from this one. This was a terrible way to head into a trip to London, Spurs would love to see a repeat of this performance.

Europa League (A) : Tottenham 4 - Fiorentina 2

This fixture couldn’t have come at a worse time, maybe another trip to Juventus would have been worse, and few expected much from Montella’s side in this one. The media and fans were not at all happy about losing the Derby Arno and the mood carried over into this game. Despite having a mostly full strength first squad, the goal seemed to be to manage the loss and try to stay alive in the group with a good goal differential.

“This will be a good test, we have been poor lately” said Montella prior to the game. “If we can’t show up against a team like this, we have no chance of winning [Serie A].”

Montella probably wanted to take that quote back, going down 1-0 after just 12’. Tanguy Ndombele would score by somehow finding some daylight in a pile of players off a corner. The ball would glance of Harry Kane’s head after a sad attempt on goal, sending the ball out to Ndombele at the top of the arc. Drągowski couldn’t pick up the ball with so many bodies around and had to stand and watch it fly into the back of the net. Kyle Walker-Peters would make it 2-0 by picking out Dele Alli with a smart cross from the end line, Roberto Martinez’s men barely needed to possess the ball to own this game. Not long after that it looked like Fiorentina had scored, Talles Magno ran in close for a shot that was deflected by Hugo Lloris and a crowd of bodies obscured the ball. While Fiorentina though it had gone in Eric Dier was smart enough to clear it, leaving the hosts up 2-0. As if God were punishing Fiorentina, the clearance ended up starting a build up that released Kane on goal for an easy score and a 3-0 lead. Montella was furious, the level of apathy at the back and going from allowing a goal to almost scoring and back to allowing a goal in the span of a minute was enough to make any manager furious. Just a few minutes after that mess, Pedro would show why he’s the King Of Bad Backpasses when a bad back pass by earlier villain Dier would gift a goal to the sneaky striker. Lloris went from being utterly surprised that Dier was even passing him the ball to unloading on him right in his face.

Down 3-1 heading into the half, in what should have been a 3-2 game in Montella’s mind, it didn’t look like Fiorentina was going to climb out of this hole. Much like his first goal, Pedro would surprise with a 43’ minute goal on a very nice Magno pass from the endline. Heading into the tunnel down 3-2, in that should have been a 3-3 game, now things didn’t seem quite as dire as they had just a few minutes ago. All the momentum built up just before the half quickly evaporated upon returning to the field. Luca Pellegrini would go down at 55’ with a pulled thigh and all the air rushed out of Fiorentina. Florentino Firenze came on for Pellegrini, but he had a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face the moment Pellegrini went down. Spurs locked things up and kept Fiorentina from doing much of anything in the second half, they let them have the ball all they wanted in their half and calmly kept them from turning that possession into anything. Lucas Moura would score a killer goal at 89’, catching Fiorentina rushing back on defense, and the final nail was in their coffin.

Ndombele was pulling the strings all game.

Ndombele and Kane deserved the PoM award, especially Ndombele who had a great game, but Pedro’s double earned him the award. It was a small consolation in a game that would leave Fiorentina frustrated. A big win against Videoton FC in their next group game might help turn things around.

Serie A (A) : Sassuolo 0 - Fiorentina 2

The mood in Florence had certainly dropped since the opening draw with Juventus. The beating in London was followed by a 2-0 win over Cittadella, but that win would cost Montella the services of Pelayo Morilla. Morilla would twist his ankle during an innocuous tackle and be ruled out for three weeks, to make things even worse Pellegrini would still be out with the thigh injury he suffered against Spurs. Montella would be forced to give fresh faced youngster Florentino Firenze his first senior start and remind fans of how bad things were in his first season when he had to dip into the U-20/U-18 rosters.

While a matchup with Sassuolo would normally excite fans, this game was sandwiched between Europa League games and seemed a little less important than usual. For the fans that did show up, they may have seen an exciting window into the future of the club and the birth of a local legend. On a more practical level, Fiorentina was finally able to grind out a win in a game it only managed to dominate in possession while having roughly the same level of chances as Sassuolo.

After looking like a scared child against Spurs Firenze looked like a future star in his first career start. It did help that Sassuolo used a midfield diamond, making it hard for Pedro Obiang to get out wide and slow him down, but when he did Firenze blew by him with ease. As the game rolled on in a sort of stalemate, neither team managed to do much with the chances they had, it was Firenze who broke the deadlock at 56’. Erick Pulgar received the ball to the left of the arc and quickly put the ball in Firenze’s path, unmarked out on the wing, and he hammered a shot across the goal and into the far netting for his first senior goal. Rogério would take down Marco Benassi in the box to give Fiorentina a penalty at 69’, which Pedro converted, and the win was in the bag. Usually Fiorentina manages to lose these kinds of games, often to Genoa, so seeing them grind out a win was a great sign. Firenze would walk off with the PoM award, a storybook beginning for a player who looked to be out of his element just a few games ago.
Injuries once again. It's been a constant theme for Montella which must be beyond infuriating at this point. Victories against Cittadella and Sassuolo ensure the month is concluded in better fashion than it perhaps started with losses against Empoli and Spurs.
2020-02-04 11:23#266266 ScottT : Injuries once again. It's been a constant theme for Montella which must be beyond infuriating at this point. Victories against Cittadella and Sassuolo ensure the month is concluded in better fashion than it perhaps started with losses against Empoli and Spurs.

I get losing to Spurs, they have an elite forward who just torched my central defenders and their whole roster is really good. Empoli and Sassuolo, I have no idea what happened to play so poorly, I don't have many games like that and they usually come against Juventus or high end teams.


Serie A (A) : Lazio 1 - Fiorentina 3

The beating Fiorentina took in London must have lit a fire under the team, either that or the grinding 2-0 win over Sassuolo to finish September. Whatever it was, I Viola look like a different team and they might be a squad nobody wants to face right now. Vincenzo Montella got his first group points in the Europa League with an easy 3-0 win over Videoton FC, a Dušan Vlahović hat-trick helped put that one in the books. They then followed that up with a 4-1 win over Serie A nemesis Genoa that featured a Riccardo Orsolini double in the first 10’ of the game, both goals scored in identical ways as if time was stuck in a loop. The international break, with few players called up, gave the squad time to rest for a trip to Lazio that would pit the league’s top two teams in the table.

“I think we learned something about ourselves in London, saw something we didn’t like” said Montella of their recent form “today we will see if we are serious” he smiled to some laughs.

His smile vanished very quickly when asked about rising star Florentino Firenze. Firenze suffered an injury in training, damaging his cruciate ligament, ruling him out for 7-8 months. Luca Pellegrini would be back in the starting lineup so Firenze wasn’t really needed at the moment, but it was hard for everyone to see a player with his potential get knocked out with such a serious injury.

The dreary mood that line of questioning created evaporated about as quickly as Lazio’s sense of superiority. Rome is a hard place to travel to, and Lazio looked like they deserved to be in 1st so far, even losing Sergej Milinković-Savić didn’t seem to slow them down. Apparently Fiorentina were not impressed by this, and it only got worse when Evander scored easily at 3’ by tapping in a pass from Pellegrini that crossed the face of the goal without any Lazio defenders touching it. Much like the Sassuolo game, things were very tight between the two with most of the game played in the middle of the field. Fiorentina dominated possession as usual but found it difficult to get into shooting position, though they were managing to trouble Thomas Strakosha when they did. At 34’ Evander did the assisting when he floated a free kick into the box and Armado Izzo headed it in to stun the hosts 2-0.

The second half started with a crushing goal at 48’ by Pedro. He wasn’t the beneficiary of a bad back pass, this time it was Riccardo Orsolini who managed to snag a pass meant for Marc Cucurella and play it forward for Pedro to knock in. The whole thing happened so quickly only Cucurella saw what was happening and he couldn’t do anything about it. Up 3-0, Fiorentina seemed to think the game was over, but an embarrassing 58’ goal by Joaquín Correa left Montella spitting fire at his players. Receiving the ball out wide around the half, Correa literally ran around the outside of Fiorentina’s defense to get in close and score easily. The game went back to being tight after a relative flurry of goals and Fiorentina looked like the better squad on their way to going a point clear of Lazio for 1st. Evander’s goal and assist were good enough to earn a PoM award, the mood couldn’t have been better heading into a date with AS Monaco.

Europa League (H) : Fiorentina 3 - AS Monaco 0

A loss to Spurs and a win over Videoton FC, who everyone in the group was likely to beat, made this game a bit of an early must-win. Two losses, both to teams likely to advance, would basically kill off Fiorentina’s chances. Their recent form made this game look a little better, being at home also helped Fiorentina come out as a very very slight underdog.

Maybe the trip to Fiorentina was rough, or maybe Robert Moreno just didn’t take this game all that seriously, Monaco seemed to leave their fight in France. Despite also lining up in a 4-2-3-1 they just didn’t have any answers for Marco Benassi who managed to control the game like a midfield maestro. Monaco was flat almost from the start, but they really folded after Pedro scored at 23’ with the help of Orsolini again. A distracted viewer might have been confused as to which game they were watching as the two combined on a goal similar to the one scored against Lazio, Orsolini snagging the ball from a defender under pressure at the back and quickly finding Pedro in the middle for a tap in. Orsolini and Benassi would combine at 32’ to make it 2-0 and send some of the visiting fans toward the exits. Orsolini would make it 3-0 when Bastos failed to head a cross clear, instead finding Orsolini right in front of goal and ready to send it crashing into the net. Just 36’ into the game, and the body language on Monaco’s players could not have been more defeated.

Orsolini has come up big time early in the season.

Despite managing to put a high percentage of their shots on target, Monaco was out of this game so early Moreno might have spent most of the time booking tickets home. Benassi would pip Orsolini for PoM, but Orsolini has been really good lately as he starts to look like one of Montella’s best signings.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 1 - Inter 1

After two straight games Montella had to risk sitting his first team. Three games in seven days, with Torino in four, and another run of three games in six days meant roster management would be key. Unfortunately this meant sending out the second squad to face Inter, being at Artemio Franchi would do little to take the edge off facing a revenge-minded Antonio Conte.

“We remember last year” said Conte when asked about being 0-2 to Fiorentina last year “that won’t happen again.” He declined to respond to a joke about yelling until his face was purple. He did not find it funny.

This was a classic Serie A game, a defensive masterclass of counterattacking that saw Conte’s 5-3-2 manage only (2) shots by the half. With possession fairly even, and Fiorentina jammed up on the wings a bit, neither team could get much going in the opposition third. Both teams had central midfielders putting on a show, with Gaetano Castrovilli having a game much like Benassi’s last week. Anyone who stuck around until 85’ would have been rewarded by the first goal of the game. Castrovilli would send a free kick into the box which would be headed down and back toward the center by Jacob Rasmussen for Vlahović to tap into the net. Another tight game looked to have gone I Viola’s way after grinding out a solid performance, with five minutes of stoppage time there was some room for stress but Inter didn’t look like they had it in them to spoil the game. As time ticked into the final minute Montella put on a display that would have made Sir Alex Ferguson proud, constantly tapping his watch at the ref. Whether or not that had anything to do with what would happen, nobody will know, but the game dragged into a 6th minute of extra time and Romelu Lukaku would head in a corner. The whistle was blown before he was finished celebrating, and Montella was in the refs face even before that. Assistant Coach Daniele Russo and Nicola Caccia had to separate Montella from the officiating crew and direct him down the tunnel. Montella would need to cool his head before a tough road game at Torino, the fans in Turin would love to see him lose it on the sidelines.
A much better month there. Such drama against Inter though, I'm not surprised Montella was enraged.
2020-02-06 21:30#266380 ScottT : A much better month there. Such drama against Inter though, I'm not surprised Montella was enraged.

Did I say Montella? I meant me.
90+6 is the most cruel way to drop points


Europa League (A) : AS Monaco 0 - Fiorentina 2

Fiorentina would finish off October with a good 2-0 win at Torino but stink up Artemio Franchi with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Frosinone. Nobody could deny that draw was a choke job after being up 1-0 against a middling team that would be lucky to finish in the top half of the table. A trip to Monaco would be a great opportunity for Vincenzo Montella to turn things around, a road win against AS Monaco would show that the first win wasn’t a fluke. Fiorentina are starting to look like a legitimate title threat, not the best odds but they could be a solid Top 4 side.

Monaco’s fans would end up being disappointed almost immediately, and it didn’t take long for everyone to realize the 3-0 loss at Artemio Franchi wasn’t a fluke. From the start of the game the hosts looked flat and ceded control to I Viola, Robert Moreno’s 4-2-3-1 looked overwhelmed and their attempts to counterattack ended up failing quickly and giving Fiorentina another shot at an attack. Pol Lirola would score at 11’, crashing inside from the wing and getting off a shot that Benjamin Lecomte was too close to the near post to stop as it crossed the net and tucked inside the far post. They never looked like scoring after that, amassing (6) shots by the half that never bothered Bartłomiej Drągowski.

The second half was much worse, which was really confusing and frustrating for Monaco fans. Fiorentina extended their dominance and Federico Ceccherini would head one in at 79’ off a corner and that would do it. The level of apathy on display by AS Monaco was confusing considering that a loss would eliminate them, Fiorentina would clinch a spot in the next round and would need to win out to take the group.

Europa League (H) : Fiorentina 6 - Tottenham 1

A 1-1 draw with Atalanta and sad 0-0 stalemate against Bologna in the Appennino Derby was not how Montella envisioned following up their second win against AS Monaco. The Appennino Derby was especially disappointing because Montella decided to use the first squad, ceding the Europa League group to Spurs, in an attempt to stay on track in Serie A. Blowing a 1-0 lead late in the Atalanta game and dominating Bologna in a game they couldn’t score in made I Viola seem like a pretender. Fiorentina can no longer be happy with taking a point, they need wins and a lot of them.

While some fans and local media were hard on Montella’s choice to send out the second squad, the reality of it was that they would need to win their last two games by a lot and have Spurs lose to AS Monaco in their final group game to clinch 1st. Fiorentina aren’t in a position yet to expect to win their group in European competition, so Montella was just being realistic while trying to balance Serie A. Roberto Martinez would come into this game with a smile, facing a “weakened” Fiorentina side they beat up 4-2 at home put them as heavy favorites to win the game and the group.

Perhaps Martinez spent too much time talking about their final game against AS Monaco, or his 5-2-2-1 was a bad match, or Spurs didn’t care about this game, but it only took a few minutes for Spurs to turn this game into a dumpster fire. Just 2’ into the game Gaetano Castrovilli would unleash an absolute blast from above the arc to put Fiorentina up 1-0, and it wouldn’t stop there. Dušan Vlahović would score the first of two goals at 7’, slipping between defenders to tuck one in, and Philip Jagiello would hammer one in from above the arc as well to put Fiorentina up 3-0 with most of the game still to play. Pelayo Morilla would score at 31’ and just a few minutes later Vlahović would net his second on a similar run, this time taking a lobbed pass and heading it past the frustrated Paulo Gazzaniga.

Down 5-0 at haltime, a stunning score, Spurs really seemed to switch off as the teams came back out. Martinez, taking an odd turn, decided to be more defensive in an effort to staunch the bleeding. It worked, in a way, with the second half played to a 1-1 draw that would at least keep Spurs from being shut out. In theory it would have made more sense for Spurs to come back on the attack, they were absolutely awful in the first half, but Martinez seemed to be worried about allowing even more goals if they went on the attack. Whatever his reasoning, the damage had been done and the result pushed Fiorentina into 1st. The 6-1 lead put I Viola +2 on Spurs in terms of Goal Differential, with a final game against Videoton FC it looked like Montella might have clinched the group. A Spurs draw or loss to AS Monaco would clinch it, but Martinez would need to win by at least (3) goals to have a chance and hope for a Fiorentina draw. The Europa League was suddenly full of drama and the knockout round isn’t even here yet.

It is unclear what caused him to do so, but the 6-1 win against Spurs seemed to signal that Pedro needed a new contract. Montella could not escape the off-field drama this time, Pedro has just signed a new deal before the season so Daniele Pradè and Montella were quick to send his agent packing. Pedro was just as quick to take his complaints to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Instagram, but with his current deal through 2024 there was little chance Fiorentina were going to budge. He is going to need to show consistent excellence for Montella to invest further unless they get a substantial increase in their wage budget.

Serie A (A) : Napoli 1 - Fiorentina 6

The shock of victory against Spurs lasted a few days, but now it was time for Montella’s plan to bear fruit. A well rested first squad would head into an important clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli side, well in the hunt for the league as well, a win or a draw in a tough road game would be a big step toward staying a legitimate title contender. A win today might land Fiorentina a moment of recognition on Cardinal Voiello’s daily paper, just a cherry on top of knocking Napoli down.

Just 7’ in Fiorentina would turn back a Napoli attack, with Lirola rushing down the right to send a low cross through the box to Pedro who seemed to have the whole net to choose from. A sign of what Napoli had in store would come shortly after at 13’ when Pedro scored a goal that would leave Ancelotti looking furious. Aex Meret would play a ball from goal, kicking it down to his left but much too close to the sidelines. Elseid Hysal would leap out of bounds to head the ball back in to Pablo Sarabia, but he was immediately met by two Fiorentina players that had no inclination to let him run up the field. In a panic he passed the ball back to nobody at the left corner of the box, Meret rushed out to collect it but Pedro slipped in and took it around him to score on an open net. The whistles from the home crowd were deafening and Pedro was mobbed. Sarabia would manage to score at 36’ off a Hirving Lozano low cross, easily beating Drągowski, but that would be the end of it for the hosts. Erick Pulgar would score on a bizarre cross that managed to go in to send the teams into the half 3-1, Ancelotti could not have known how much worse things would get.

Up 3-1, Fiorentina had no issues pinning Napoli back and making them uncomfortable with the press. Napoli would hold the ball quite a bit in their third, but their handling of the ball was getting sloppier by the minute. An attempt to look like Barcelona at the back ended with Hysal making a backpass to nobody again with four Fiorentina players swarming their back line, once again Pedro would be there to sneak by Meret who had more than a few choice words for Hysal. At 60’ Talles Magno would score his 1st goal for Fiorentina, and Napoli’s day really fell apart at 74’ when Allan was booked a second time for pushing Evander and got sent off. Being down a man did little to help Napoli’s management of the ball as Pedro scored his fourth just a minute after Allan’s dismissal. Things got heated in stoppage time when Luca Pellegrini was booked, Napoli’s players mobbed the ref demanding a red but all they got was some pushing and finger pointing from Fiorentina. The final whistle signalled that Fiorentina was either a legit contender, or Napoli was on their way to a terrible season.

è crisi de Napoli?
The odd poor result here and there, but some absolutely amazing results against Monaco, Spurs and Napoli. Wow!
Sometimes I'd rather handle a (fellow) minnow like a champion and take a beating against an elite team than choke against a bottom feeder and kill a giant. Genoa is becoming more of a rival than Juventus...


Europa League (A) : Videoton FC 1 - Fiorentina 4

A trip to Hungary would be Vincenzo Montella’s reward for starting off December with a resounding 6-1 at Brescia. After the hosts scored immediately, on a Route One attack, the team came back and crushed them to leave Fiorentina fans feeling much better. I Viola has shown a propensity for slipping in critical situations as heavy favorites, and today would have been a prime opportunity for a slip up. Goal differential would decide the group, so a 1-0 win might leave them open to Spurs overtaking their (3) goal advantage, and Spurs have the harder matchup against AS Monaco.

Montella took a bit of a risk using his second squad, but even they made short work of the hosts. It took them 22’ to score, but Videoton spent the entire game just trying to manage their humiliation and mostly looked like they were playing a 4-6-0 as their midfield diamond spent a ton of time back on defense. Martin Terrier would score twice on his way to a PoM award while Videoton did their best to slow down anyone in purple with a good old fashioned kicking. The hosts would out-foul Fiorentina 29-5, it’s a wonder they didn’t have anyone sent off, and managed to score in stoppage time to make things more interesting in the Spurs-AS Monaco game.

As it turned out, it was good that Fiorentina managed to win big as Spurs did the same with a 3-0 win over AS Monaco. With a neutral change in GD Fiorentina would find themselves winning the group, a huge boost to Montella’s efforts to turn I Viola around. They would be drawn with Real Sociedad in the first knockout round, a decent challenge but a team they could definitely beat. The bad news would be the addition of Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, and Manchester United as the Champions League sent them packing. Without a lucky draw, Fiorentina’s path to a Europa League title will be nearly impossible.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 2 - Udinese 1

Fiorentina’s follow-up to their big win over Videoton FC would turn out to be a good sign for the rest of the year. It is becoming increasingly clear that Pedro and Evander, along with Talles Magno (now starting for the first squad) and Luca Pellegrini, were developing an excellent connection. The left side of Fiorentina’s formation along with Evander in the No. 10 role are starting to become a powerful scoring threat.

Udinese would strike first at 20’ with an exchange and goal that would summon Montella to the touch line to scream at his team. A lackadaisical approach to Udinese handling the ball in their third allowed Antonin Barak to send a low cross screaming through the box to an unmarked Jens Stryger Larsen who knocked it out of the air and into the net. This was starting to look like one of those games when Fiorentina folded and played down to their opponent, but from the goal on they came on like an avalanche with and without the ball. Udinese was happy to sit back with a 1-0 lead, but even their counterattacks had trouble crossing midfield.

Anyone who watches Fiorentina would not be surprised by the way they drew even at 65’, at this point it’s fair to say fans expect it. An Udinese attack crashed and burned in Fiorentina’s midfield and a quick pass to Riccardo Orsolini started a blitz into Udinese’s back line. An attempted through ball to Pedro found Rodrigo Becão instead and he spun quickly and passed the ball back to… Pedro who scored easily with Alex Ferrari and Juan Musso stunned by what just happened. Rodrigo Becão couldn’t have put it in a better spot for Pedro to score, Artemio Franchi exploded, and the visitors were suddenly in a lot of trouble. It took a while, but a foul on Talles Magno in the box put Pedro on the spot for a 2-1 lead and the gutsy comeback Fiorentina desperately needed.

Pedro’s double would be good enough to put him in a tie for Serie A lead scorer with (10), but more importantly the win would put Fiorentina in 2nd just a point behind Lazio.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 0 - Roma 2

With the season approaching half way the title race was starting to shake out, and thanks to a much improved level of performance Fiorentina found themselves right in the thick of it. A 2-0 win at Sampdoria, where Dušan Vlahović would score his 11th goal of the season, would vault I Viola into 1st. Montella could not afford to relax in 1st, only (3) points separated 1st and 5th for what was starting to shape up into a very tight title race. A visit from Roma would be yet another litmus test for their title credentials, unfortunately for Montella every one of these games would seem like an indication of their ability to win a title. Newly appointed Roma manager Arsène Wenger would be another kind of challenge for Montella, with the players at his disposal it wouldn’t be easy getting by them.

Immediately things did not look good and Roma’s back line did an excellent job of mitigating Fiorentina’s press while simultaneously leading the attack on the outside. Fiorentina managed to get the better of Roma in the midfield, but Fiorentina’s attack was muted all game. The wheels came off when Justin Kluivert sent a free kick into the box and it bounced in the goal area without anyone touching it, Federico Ceccherini was called for shoving Javier Pastore in the box and Roma were awarded a penalty. A short scuffle ensued, mostly thanks to Nicolò Zaniolo taunting Ceccherini. Zaniolo had refused a transfer during the summer, stating Fiorentina were too small, so things were fairly tense with the young midfielder coming into the game. Of course Zaniolo would be the one to convert the penalty and take a 1-0 lead.

Salt in the wound.

Kluivert would make it 2-0 just after the half and Roma would seal a fitting result thanks to a listless Fiorentina side who never managed to find their footing. Defending on the outside was blamed for the loss, but the team never put together the kind of game that could have beaten Roma.

“We aren’t going to let ourselves be defined by this loss, we are still in the hunt. I’m not ready to quit, and neither are my players” said Montella after the game.

While the final game of the year was disappointing there was some good news on the awards / recognition front. Pol Lirola, Pedro, and Bartłomiej Drągowski would be named to the Serie A team of the year as well as winning their position of the year awards. Perfect timing for a transfer window, hopefully things won’t go pear shaped with teams trying to pry them away.

The Roma result doesn't undo all the victories beforehand for me. Sociedad will be a challenge in the Europa League, but they're certainly a more manageable task than those who have dropped out of the Champions League that you named.


With no additional funds made available during the window Vincenzo Montella decided to sit on their modest cash reserves and roll with the team on hand. The fact that the team was playing so well and so few players were injured helped make the inactivity easy, though the other teams in the hunt were spending heavily.

The biggest news of 2021 was the announcement that a deal had been reached on Brexit and the United Kingdom, not just England, was leaving the European Union. Fiorentina doesn’t scout England, and they couldn’t afford English players if they did, but they do scout Northern Ireland and Wales. The recently hired Gavin Smyth might be out of a job, it’s doubtful Fiorentina want to burn their non-EU slots on Northern Irish or Welsh players when better value is to be found in Brazil and non-EU European nations.

Senior / Major Transfers (Out)

Senior Transfers (In)

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Dimciu Igiroşanu (LB, Viitorul Constanţa - Romania) 1.3M
Riccardo Gaboardi (RB, Pro Vercelli - Italy) 155K
Gianmarco Pasquariello (CB, FC Pro Vercelli 1892 - Italy) 150K
Nicolò Branzino (CM, Viterbese - Italy) 140K
Elia Ferrari (RW, Viterbese - Italy) 135K
Maximo Fazio (GK, Reggina - Italy) 130K
Gianluca De Napoli (CF, Alessandria - Italy) 130K
Graziano Nervi (CB, Pro Vercelli - Italy) 115K
Stefán Birgir Eyþórsson (CAM, Knattspyrnufélagið Víkingur - Iceland) 110K
Baldassarre Piano (GK, Vis Pesaro - Italy) 100K
Aaron Smith (GK, Glenavon - Northern Ireland) 15K
Roberto Bonaduce (LW, Brindisi - Italy) 5K
Smoke Monday (LB, Spezia - USA) Free
Federico Marino (RB, Urbino - Italy) Free
Luca Esposito (CF, Top Kickers - Italy) Free
Daniele Perasso (CF, Bassano - Italy) Free
Daniele Albano (CM, L’Aquila - Italy) Free
Nicolò Santoro (CB, Cotignola - Italy) Free
Silvino Dante (LB, Massese - Italy) Free

Daniele Pradè and his team of scouts have done an incredible job on a tight budget, but internally many feel that they have landed some seriously good players. Obviously the focus was on Italy as they continue to try improving the youth system, and in many cases they found solid players who weren’t under contract and were very willing to move to Florence. Maximo Fazio and Smoke Monday have the coaching staff very excited about their potential upside, both have senior squad upside and could be massive bargains. Fazio has been favorably compared to Alban Lafont and has the athleticism and height to be a monster in goal. Monday, a bizarre case of an American without a contract at an Italian club, has the kind of athleticism that makes coaches weak in the knees. If Fiorentina can coach these guys up, even one of them making the senior squad would be worth it.
Smoke Monday, what a name that is!
2020-02-24 00:59#267054 ScottT : Smoke Monday, what a name that is!

That's a real person's name, which is why I had to do a double take when a scout found him.

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