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Pioggia Viola : AFC Fiorentina

Started on 20 November 2019 by OohAhCantona / First Post
Latest Reply on 27 March 2020 by ScottT / Last Post
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That backline is leaking goals like nobody's business. Hopefully some returning faces can hep bolster it and you can push on the second half of the season.
I've used Ricci before and he was a good signing for me! Obviously good to keep your best assets too.
Some much-needed signings, let's see how they do.
The reinforcements have arrived!

JANUARY : WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?!

Serie A (A) : Genoa 3 - Fiorentina 0


With a bunch of players back and a few new ones Fiorentina seemed to have been given new life. Opening the new year with a game against Genoa, currently sitting 19th in the league, seemed like a great way to let everyone get their bearings and get ready for the second half. Genoa playing a 4-1-2-3 was an indication of trouble, but nobody could have predicted this dumpster fire.

Michael Kouamé, a young Ivorian who hasn’t done all that much in his career yet, turned into Ronaldo and ripped Fiorentina apart all on his own. Pol Lirola and Nikola Milenković suddenly forgot how to defend and the left winger just completely had his way with them again and again, especially if he managed to get the ball while Lirola was in a forward position. His first goal at 38’ made Vincenzo Montella jump in the air and burst into a tirade, the passivity in defending was appalling. Kouamé received the ball out on the left near the edge of the box, ran toward the box, stopped and took a flat footed shot with Lirola staying well back. The shot dipped across the goal to the far corner and nestled in the side netting.

Kouamé wasn’t done making Fiorentina’s defenders look like immobile objects. He would score again at 50’ and 89’ in almost identical ways, making Milenković look like a fool for asking to be paid more. Coming from out wide, the time with Lirola in position, he would literally just run wide around Lirola and Milenković to get in close and score. Maybe this game wouldn’t have been as humiliating if Fiorentina hadn’t had the ball 66% of the time while piling up (34) shots to Genoa’s (12). Montella’s offense has rarely looked so impotent, and things would need to change fast with Juventus coming to Artemio Franchi for their next game.


Montella can only yell so much.

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 1 - Juventus 4


Speaking of Juventus… Montella really didn’t need this after the Genoa game. Juventus isn’t running away with the league, but the level of quality between the two teams is evident just by looking at the roster. Maurizio Sarri left players on the bench that would be the best player on Fiorentina, Daniele Rugani and Douglas Costa to name a few, so it would be hard to say Fiorentina had much of a chance in this game. Milan Badelj would be out for two months with a torn thigh muscle, the purchase of Filip Jagiello now looked like a life saver. This would also be the first game Federico Chiesa would start at LW with Tòfol Montiel moving to the first squad at RW.

It only took 2’ for Juventus to assert themselves and put the frailty of Fiorentina’s back line on display. Emre Can would receive the ball just on the edge of Fiorentina’s third, make a move to lose Jagiello, and then blow past Germán Pezzella like he wasn’t even there to get in close and score. Over a nine minute span starting at 14’ Juventus completely destroyed Fiorentina, scoring three times to put the game well out of reach. Gonzalo Higuaín (twice) and Paulo Dybala would be able to walk right through the middle of the field and score. The best I Viola could do was kick Dybala in the ankle, earning Milenković a booking just before the half.

What happened after the half defied logic on a level hard to comprehend, perhaps it is ineffable. Just a few minutes into the second half Milenković kicked Dybala again, because he didn’t remember what happened the first time, and earned a sending off to leave Fiorentina down a man against a team that shredded them 4-0 in the first half. Pedro came off for Federico Ceccherini and Montella settled into a 4-2-3 that somehow managed to shut down Juventus. Montella didn’t even park the bus, they continued to play in the same way just without a striker, and they beat Juventus 1-0 in that half. Montiel would score at 82’ to save them from the embarrassment of being shut out before the game mercifully ended 4-1. The loss would knock Fiorentina down to 9th and with a trip to Milan next they could fall even farther.

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


Oh, what could have been? Montella desperately needed a win in the Coppa Italia, with pressure to reach the quarter finals, so he decided to rest his first squad and let the second squad handle a trip to the San Siro. On paper this looked like a really bad idea, but losing to Milan wouldn’t be nearly as bad as getting dumped out of the Coppa.

Perhaps the secret to success for Montella is to play with (10) men every game. This game couldn’t have been more boring for 35’ minutes if both teams decided to take a nap, it was like a catenaccio pissing contest between two parked buses. At 35’ Rachid Ghezzal absolutely wrecked Ricardo Rodríguez with a tackle more appropriate for an MMA bout, sending Rodríguez flying backwards and earning a straight red for his efforts. The daggers Montella had for Ghezzal has he walked down the tunnel may have been the highlight of the game, and now I Viola were back to a 4-2-3 for the second game in a row. For some reason, that was no barrier to Riccardo Sottil scoring at 43’ to stun the home crowd. A humorous Gilberto-Franck Ribéry-Sottil exchange with the ball zig-zagging across the box ended in an improbable 1-0 lead.

Fiorentina went on to dominate possession while barely taking any shots, and then at 86’ Milan seemed to remember they were Milan and Fiorentina wasn’t Juventus. Ante Rebic would blow past Fiorentina’s useless central defenders to bring the game level 1-1, and just a few minutes later Franck Kessié would saunter into the box late and get a pass to set up a long shot that banged into the right side of the goal to put the hosts up 2-1 for good.

Despite all the transfers and loan players returning, it turns out Montella needed better centerbacks. This would be the 5th game in a row without a win, a streak that included (4) losses. The run of fixtures coming up likely wouldn’t do much to improve that record with games against Atalanta and Napoli looming.

Coppa Italia - TIM Cup (A) : Atalanta 0 - Fiorentina 1


As Fiorentina struggles to stay in the top half of the league this game could mean Montella’s job. Making the Coppa Italia quarter finals is something ownership has demanded, so a win today might keep him in his job through the end of the year. As if the job security issue wasn’t enough Chiesa would inform the organization that he wanted to be sold with just a week left in the window, something that definitely wasn’t going to happen. He would take his argument about Fiorentina being too small of a club to the media, pissing off fans along with the organization.

After the Milan stinker, Gian Piero Gasperini said “hold my beer” on combining for a horribly boring game. Montella did his part as well, or at least Fiorentina did, in a game where they were only able to put a single shot on goal. Atalanta tried, taking the initiative all game, but for once I Viola’s defense was enough to hold them.

With the game literally one minute away from extra time, Ibañez managed to execute one of the weirdest own goals to hand the win to Fiorentina. Pierluigi Gollini would collect the ball after a sad shot by Ribéry that just rolled its way to the goal, and as Atalanta moved into position he would charge forward to kick the ball down field. Unfortunately Ibañez quickly changed position and the low kick hit him in the back of the head and bounded right back into goal. This was the perfect finish to a perfectly forgettable game, Ibañez would certainly like to forget about it. Fiorentina would draw Roma for the next round, definitely a team they wouldn’t be able to rely on a freakish own goal to beat.

Coppa Italia - TIM Cup (A) : Roma 3 - Fiorentina 1


Fiorentina’s recent form has been infuriating to say the least, on a weekly basis Montella is never sure what kind of performance he is going to get. The run up to this game was as bizarre as playing well against Juventus down a man, a 4-1 drubbing of Cagliari on the road was followed by a 3-2 win over Lecce that pushed them up to 7th. They followed those wins up with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Napoli where they led 2-1 late in the game. Few expected much from Fiorentina in this game, Roma has been in good form lately and hosting this game would push them to heavy favorites.

It only took Nicolò Zaniolo 2’ to put things firmly in Arsène Wenger’s favor, since taking over Roma has looked like a very different team. Improbably, Fiorentina would draw even when Ceccherini headed in a corner at 28’ to give Montella some hope. It’s unclear when the trouble started, but Zaniolo and Marco Benassi were going at each other all game. Benassi was being very physical with Zaniolo after his goal, trying to prevent him from having too much time on the ball, and it resulted in more than one incident where the two needed to be pulled apart. Things boiled over in the second half when Benassi finally got booked at 51’, and then just a few minutes later put an unnecessarily hard tackle on Zaniolo at the sidelines for his second.

Being down a man, unlike the last two times, turned the game in Roma’s favor and they started to pour it on. Eventually things broke down, Diego Perotti scored at 76’ with acres of space around him in the box. Fiorentina’s central defenders were being a serious letdown once again. Ceccherini joined Benassi at 88’ with a particularly stupid booking, Gaetano Castrovilli would send a rather heavy lofted back pass to Ceccherini who couldn’t get to the ball which was basically about to double as an excellent through ball for Zaniolo with nother between him and the goal. Ceccherini decided to smack the ball down with his hand to prevent Zaniolo a free run on goal and got booked very quickly. This just made Fiorentina’s giving the ball away even more infuriating, the 2-1 deficit might as well have been 100-1 with the way they took care of the ball. Zaniolo would add a second in stoppage time, pouring more salt in the wound. At least being out of the Coppa would free them up to focus on the league.
Wow you are being plagued by both injuries and red cards lately! Hopefully you can pull some form back together going towards the final stretch.. good luck!
A difficult month for Montella. Thankfully the games against the likes of Leece, Napoli and Cagliari restore some parity. Chiesa's desire to want to leave the club is understandable given his immense talent and the club's current league position. Hopefully you can really cash in on him should you not be able to tempt him to stay.

Have to say, Wenger at Roma is a pleasant surprise!
That's a really, really rough month for you there. Hopefully as Scott says there are a few games coming up to restore a bit of lost faith, but it will be hard to do considering the dismal form of January.
These updates really need a table for context, tough month overall, not helpful
What a very difficult month that was. Genoa was a shock and unfortunately having to play Juve next wasn't the best bounce back and you never seemed to recover. Hopefully next month can improve.
2020-01-14 10:44#265317 Griffo : These updates really need a table for context, tough month overall, not helpful

Yeah, I need to start doing that. I didn't get any of them for 2019-20, but that is a good suggestion for 2020-21.

FEBRUARY : LIMPING TO THE FINISH LINE

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 2 - Roma 0


Getting dumped out of the Coppa Italia really helped Fiorentina focus, a month with only four games would also help recover from the litany of injuries that marred the early season. The month of January was also a month to forget, despite the general level of good health Fiorentina nearly fell apart. Dalbert would return to training, giving Montella more depth at a position that struggled just to field a live person at one point. I Viola would open the month with two wins, 1-0 against Parma and SPAL, both of them marred by a failure to convert possession and shots into goals.

This game turned out to be one of those games that leave you speechless, how Fiorentina could lose 3-1 to Roma and then turn around and beat them 2-0 was beyond even Montella. The two teams had the ball roughly the same amount of time, with Fiorentina showing their usual ability to come out ahead in that department, but Roma just couldn’t get anything going. Roma only managed a single key pass all game, by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and that was it. They didn’t create a single chance while Fiorentina created (5) to go along with (14) key passes. Despite all of that, it took 80’ for Federico Chiesa to break the scoreless draw, cutting inside Kevin Prince-Boateng slipped a ball to him and he scored easily on his way to the PoM award. He would then feed Tòfol Montiel for the second goal, both of them seeming to come easily. If only Montella could find the secret to more consistency, aside from significantly better players, Fiorentina might challenge for the league title.

Serie A (A) : Sampdoria 3 - Fiorentina 1


The run of good form would put Fiorentina in 6th, (10) points back of Napoli and (3) in front of Atalanta with a game in hand. There was little chance they could pass Napoli, so the remainder of this season would be about keeping a step ahead of Atalanta. Pol Lirola would be suspended through yellow card limit, forcing Lorenzo Venuti to start at RB. In theory, Fiorentina should have been able to handle Sampdoria. In theory, Communism works. In theory.

Sampdoria managed to put on a display of classic Serie A football, allowing Fiorentina to have the ball and counter attacking to devastating effect. I Viola would help them along by defending like garbage, but Sampdoria helped themselves by taking (8) shots and putting (7) of them on goal. The frustration came out on both sides, with both teams piling up yellow cards it started to seem like the ref would run out of space in the book. In total (14) cards were handed out, two of them going to Emiliano Rigoni, but being up a man didn’t seem to matter as Fiorentina were already down 2-1 and could string two passes together.

The level of absurdity hit a peak in stoppage time when Nicola Murru scored a humiliating goal that led to Montella having a stern word with Bartłomiej Drągowski as they left the field. Murru would casually boot the ball into the goal area from well outside the right corner of the box, clearly looking to lay in a cross for Manolo Gabbiadini or Fabio Quagliarella. Neither of them had the timing right and didn’t make a run, backing off as they assumed Drągowski would collect the ball. Instead it bounced right in front of Drągowski and went right into the far side of the goal with the panicked keeper diving at the last minute. At this rate Montella might get fired for fielding a circus instead of a football team.
After a good string of results, Fiorentina come crashing back down to earth. Montella must be sick to his back teeth at the moment.

MARCH : WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 4 - Torino 2


A month with only four games scheduled presented a much needed break, especially with Riccardo Sottil being out for two weeks with pulled knee ligaments. Vincenzo Montella finds himself with only two RW options, recalling Tòfol Montiel seems smarter by the day. The loss to Sampdoria, and missing Federico Chiesa, put some dark clouds over this month but out of nowhere Fiorentina came alive.

Franck Ribéry scored just 4’ into the game on an exchange Montella has been trying to get going for some time. Dalbert brought the ball up the sideline, passed it forward to Ribéry who cut inside the box and caught Salvatore Sirigu flat footed. Montiel did his part at 20’, taking a deep cross from Filip Jagiello and heading the ball in at the far post. The 2-0 lead came with a substantial 17:3 shots advantage on Torino.

Pedro would score at 64’ on a nice Kevin Prince-Boateng through ball and Fiorentina seemed to be cruising toward a big win. Late in the game, Torino had other thoughts and suddenly remembered I Viola had a turnstile playing in central defense. In just two minutes of game time Fiorentina surrendered twice, looking like they thought the game was over. First Simone Zaza ran right up the middle and scored, and then Lorenzo De Silvestri came around the outside and met no opposition in the center for an easy goal. What looked like a 3-0 win suddenly turned into a 3-2 lead that might vanish. Luckily for Montella, Erick Pulgar and Dalbert took notice of De Silvestri’s goal and one minute later Dalbert would take a nice through ball from Pulgar and score a nearly identical goal.

A 4-2 win definitely feels good, especially with a number of players rating 7.5 or higher, but defending that Montella described as “spazzatura” would leave a bitter taste in their mouth.


Rome isn’t the only place in Italy with a trash problem.

Serie A (A) : Inter 2 - Fiorentina 3


A bizarrely bittersweet trip to Milan would find Montella celebrating while regretting that he helped a hated rival. Boatend and Germán Pezzella would miss this game thanks to being booking against Torino, giving Valentin Eysseric and Federico Ceccherini a start. With Inter in 1st and Fiorentina desperately trying to stay in the top half the San Siro looked like it might be the scene of a real beating.

Just 10’ in Romelu Lukaku gave Ceccherini a little taste of how easy it would be to mark him all game, knocking him aside and heading in a goal like Ceccherini wasn’t even there. Things looked good for the hosts for a while, and then suddenly things started to turn against Inter as Lukaku couldn’t find any openings and had to drop deeper and deeper to receive the ball. Jagiello would pull Fiorentina even on a killer goal coming off a corner at 23’. The ball was headed out by Inter, collected by Federico Chiesa just outside the box and Jagiello made a wide run that Inter failed to cover. At a steep angle to the goal with nobody in his face Jagiello managed to hammer a shot across the goal and into the opposite side netting. A second corner, just minutes later, allowed Nikola Milenković to head one in and take the lead on a frustrated Inter side. Antonio Conte absolutely lost it on the second one, he looked poised to murder someone until Matias Vecino scored an insane goal at 40’. A laser from above the arc would somehow thread a path around defenders and tuck just inside the right post out of Bartłomiej Drągowski’s reach.

Conte was being Conte after the break, and starting at 67’ he looked like he might literally explode with rage. Maximiliano Olivera would make an early cross from the sideline and find a streaking Pedro, breaking toward the ball and getting between Milan Skriniar and Samir Handanovic and heading the ball in before Handanovic could catch it. A few minutes later Pol Lirola tripped Alexis Sánchez out wide, and the Chilean made quite a show of it, drawing some shoving and summoning Conte from the technical area. It really didn’t help having the incident happen right near the Inter bench, and once the ref was able to remove himself from the cloud of shouting Italians he showed Lirola his second yellow of the game. Now playing in a 4-2-3 with Pedro coming off, holding on to a 3-2 lead would be a miracle. The bigger miracle would have been Conte calming down, but VAR swooped in to seal is attitude for the rest of the game. Lukaku would score an absolutely insane goal, putting Fiorentina’s ‘spazzatura’ defending on display. Outside the right corner of the box, facing away from goal, he would spin and take an off balance shot that would sail into the net. VAR would take a look and rule him offsides, a ruling Conte was very pleased to hear.

Continuing the theme of playing well in a 4-2-3, Fiorentina held on to a 3-2 lead and finished the year 2-0 against Inter. The win knocked Inter out of first to tie them on points with Juventus, maybe losing this game would have been better.


Calmer than you are.

Serie A (A) : Udinese 1 - Fiorentina 4


Whoever thought a month with only four games would be easier, or boring, turned out to be dead wrong. A solid 2-0 win against Hellas Verona would see Milan Badejl return to training and Dalbert sprain his knee in the game, ruling him out for 5-6 weeks. The win basically clinched finishing in the top half of Serie A, a mark that impressed the board enough to award Montella with a new (3) year contract.

Fiorentina would somehow dominate this game despite being fairly even in terms of shots, for once the massive lead in possession seemed to be to their advantage. I Viola, or more specifically Pedro, were much better at turning attempts into goals. It only took Pedro 6’ to score off a corner on his way to being named the Serie A player of the month with (6) in (4) games. His second goal at 55’ would elevate him to Lord Of The Terrible Back Pass, a hospital ball would barely make to Juan Musso as he rushed out of goal to collect it but he couldn’t control it well with Pedro bearing down on him. Pedro would tap the ball away from Musso and immediately shoot it into the empty net.

Pezzella would head in a corner to make it 3-0 and it didn’t even matter when Stefano Okaka did the same at 75’ to make it 3-1. A late penalty, that Luca Gotti would rather aggressively contest as a dive, would give Pedro his hat trick and close out a surprisingly good month for Montella. With just two months left to go Fiorentina would be a real dog fight to qualify for the Europa League, a much bigger step than anyone expected in Montella’s first year back.
Get in! A month of football to remember - let's hope this is the start of a more consistent run of results in which winning becomes a permanent fixture in Fiorentina's game.

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