Match Preview Serie A

Fiorentina vs Juventus Match Preview and Scouting

January 13, 2017 - 8:35 pm


Fiorentina v Juventus

Serie A Week 20 –  Sunday, 15th January – 19:45 GMT – Stadio Artemio Franchi



On Sunday, it was smooth sailing for the black and white gang at the Stadium, as it has often been this year: the squad wanted to redeem itself after the disappointing loss in the Supercoppa and Bologna simply had no chance. On Wednesday, however, old flaws crept back in the Coppa Italia tilt against Atalanta: the start was sizzling hot, Paulo Dybala was all over the pitch doing his thing, but there were lapses in focus after the 2-0 and especially after the 3-1, which allowed the opponents back in the game. These things need to be cleaned up before the games that really matter, the Champions League ones, where a goal can make a huge difference.

Until they play the Crotone game, Juventus hold a four-point lead in Serie A and will now face a delicate two-game stretch against Fiorentina and Lazio, where Bianconeri will have to be at their best. By now, everybody knows that we have dropped points on the road after midweek matches on three different occasions, so this upcoming match will be a good chance to flip the script. Massimiliano Allegri, doing the right thing in my opinion, has not rested many starters against Atalanta, basically only Gonzalo Higuain, who will be fresh and ready to unleash his fury against La Viola.

Two good news from the infirmary: Leonardo Bonucci is fully back and played the final portion of the last game and Alex Sandro has re-joined the rest of the group on Friday, so he has a good chance to start on Sunday night. Speaking of injured players, Marko Pjaca was spry in his return, of course he misses game rhythm but he can fit right in both in 4-3-2-1 and in 3-5-2 even though his best position would be left winger. Claudio Marchisio was subbed off as a precautionary measure at half time against Atalanta, but he is said to be ok.

The big challenge for the coaching staff will be to replace Stephan Lichtsteiner, who is suspended. The shift to the diamond lineup seems more permanent than not to me, but I think that just for this game they could opt to go back to 3-5-2 for a couple of reasons. First of all, they have the BBC at full strength, which is simply a competitive advantage. Secondly, and more importantly, there is not really a good option at RB, unless you want Andrea Barzagli out there on his own against pacey wingers. Juan Cuadrado was spared during the week and that is an indication that he will start in the weekend, likely as RWB. Using him as fullback would be very bold against an offensive-minded team. Stefano Sturaro would be the final, and desperate, option.

In case of 3-5-2, it will be interesting to see what happens in the midfield: Miralem Pjanic has played better as no.10, but it is hard to renounce to his creativity, even if he has to take on more defensive duties. Anyway, there is a chance he is benched for either Sturaro or Tomas Rincon, or that they use 3-4-1-2: at that point, Sami Khedira would battle with the more muscular alternatives. The attack will be in HD resolution- If Alex Sandro can not go, Kwadwo Asamoah will slide right into the XI, in a position where he has thrived. Asamoah has played decently well at left back, however dependability is always an issue with him. Patrice Evra seems on his way out and the management is still after Sead Kolasinac, we will see what will happen on that front.

Speaking of the raging winds of the transfer market, Juventus seems to have secured a deal for the youngster Riccardo Orsolini, whom they were pursuing even before he exploded on the Serie B scene this season. A spectacular talent with a bright future, who may be ready to give his contribution probably in a year and a half, after a season on loan in Serie A. Same thing for Mattia Caldara, whose purchase is official. The executives are already looking at the 2017/2018 season, that literally means being two steps ahead of the competition. Also Orsolini is a left-footed right winger, I wonder how his acquisition influences the (im)possible arrival of Domenico Berardi.

UPDATE: Alex Sandro has recovered and will start, but Giorgio Chiellini has the flu: if he can not shake it off by Sunday night, then it will likely be a four-man defence or in alternative Rugani will replace him.

Probable lineup: 

3-5-2: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Cuadrado, Khedira, Marchisio, Pjanic, Sandro; Dybala, Higuain.


Alves (fibula), Lemina (AFCON), Benatia (AFCON), Mandragora (foot), Mattiello (nose). 





It is difficult to properly grasp what kind of season Fiorentina are having. They are undefeated at home, but they have dropped points against Crotone, Atalanta and Sampdoria. Some of their talents have blossomed, Federico Bernardeschi in a big way, but they are in ninth position, nine points below the Europa League zone. They in the midst of an identity crisis, they do not play as well as in the previous years and also the facts that Paulo Sousa is a lame duck and that Nikola Kalinic may soon leave to go to China certainly do not help.

They have not won in three games, where they have lost against Genoa and Lazio and tied against Napoli. Their second half against Partenopei was truly one of their finest of the season: Bernardeschi showcased all his talent, but a silly foul in the final minute snatched away a victory they probably deserved. Their most impressive win was against Roma back in October, a 1-0 game where they managed to control the pace of the match and found a late goal. Since then, they have been defeated by Torino, Inter, Lazio and have drawn against Atalanta, Milan and Napoli. Juventus obviously defeated them 2-1 in the season opener, quickly responding with Higuain after the Viola equalizer. Basically, they have only one win against the sides that are above them in the table. Historically, they have never been a juggernaut against middling teams, so this is a bad combination if you want to go places.

Bernardeschi has been their best player so far and he has already scored nine goals. Kalinic picked up after a slow start and has resumed being the point of reference he was in the previous season. Josip Ilicic and Borja Valero have not been as good as in the past: as for the Spaniard, it is understandable because he constantly plays in more defensive position, while I do not know what happened with Ilicic, but he has always been a bit up and down in his career. Cristian Tello has not made a big impact in his second season at the club: he has often been supplanted by Federico Chiesa, who has been very impressive.

They still use a 4-2-3-1 that can very easily turn into a 3-4-2-1 if need be, because both Tello and Chiesa, who usually start as right winger, can also be used as RWB and Bernardeschi can play as attacking midfielder. Also, both Carlos Salcedo and Nenad Tomovic are able to cover the RB and the CB position.

They are dealing with two pretty big injury concerns: Davide Astori has a bruised thigh, while Borja Valero has an ankle sprain. There is optimism for both: if they did not recover, Tomovic and Matias Vecino would start, but the absence of Valero in particular would be a big blow. Mauro Zarate, who was electric against Napoli, and Sebastiano Cristoforo have an outside chance to start as trequartistas. Salcedo, who has won the battle at RB with Tomovic, made a pretty big mistake against Napoli, so I would not be surprised to see him benched. Maxi Olivera has constantly started over Hrvoje Milic on the other flank in December and he should be in the XI even though he is the more offensive option. They are bringing in Marco Sportiello to challenge for the starting job in goal, so that must say something about what they think of Ciprian Tatarusanu.

It will be an intense atmosphere: Florence hates Juventus and they get up every time Bianconeri come to town (besides when we won 5-0 I guess). They have not lost yet at Artemio Franchi in Serie A this season, but these kind of stats are made to be broken. They have also won only once in the last 17 matches against Juventus. Bianconeri will have to pay particular attention on the set pieces and to their weapons on the flanks.

UPDATE: Astori and Valero are trending in the right direction and should be able to start, but there is a chance Tomovic will just slide to the flank, with Salcedo on the bench.

Probable lineup: 

4-2-3-1: Tatarusanu; Salcedo, Rodriguez, Tomovic, Olivera; Badelj, Valero; Chiesa, Ilicic, Bernardeschi; Kalinic. 


Dragowski (knee). 





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  • Avatar
    Xx RForcE xX January 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    official: Simone Zaza signed for Valencia , 6months loan with an option to buy for 18m after 10 games or if Valencia avoid relegation

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    JuventusBuffon January 15, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    This is fucking ridiculous

  • Avatar
    ho Hi January 15, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Worst game. No Pjanic no goals.
    Dybala wheres your head?
    Barzagli please youre old.
    Cuadrado youre a fake.

    Shocking to see Juve in this form.

  • Avatar
    Dar Black January 15, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I was going to comment before the match that I have worries about the outcome… I decided to be positive and assume we would prevail. I should have trusted my instincts…

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino January 16, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Same here mate, felt like posting this would be another tricky game, but I did expect a win.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef January 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Tgp ratings should no go over 5.5. Marchisio khedira sturaro a 4. Awful today just simply awful. Allegri recieves a 3. How can you play Bonucci and Barzagli after long time injury. Left Rugani on the bench. Again. Awful tactics awful display.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet January 16, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Very odd decisions…Made no sense other than when fit and sharp it has been our strongest, but to play 2 of 3 defenders who are miles away from well tuned and Cuadrado with 60 minutes of football under his belt for the last four weeks, against one of our most fierce opponents in their own back yard…either arrogance or idiocy.

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 7:15 am

        If it was not for the close ups i would have tought we were sabotaged by udinese. I will watch the match again. I have counted at least 50 missed simple passes between our players. Again we were not mentally prepared. AGAIN.When you enter a stadium no respect for the 39 posters in hysel memorial (obviously no will do nothing about it)you know you are in for a war. We played like it was an end of season match.Nobody seemed to care. Bonucci did not even sweat. Left to chiellini to organise our play.CHIELLINI. Yes we had our chances a clear penalty from a splendid pjaca run. But in general the pacing the passes the display was simple awful.

    • Avatar
      Xx RForcE xX January 16, 2017 at 6:14 am

      thats the point, how could he put them on, rugani was playing perfectly and he benched him, our defense was total joke, same goes for gigi, wtf?however, we had plenty of chances to win the game , higuain burnt easy hattrick, dybala’ chance at the end , oh dear

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 7:21 am

        The first goal conceded was elementary.Yes we had chances but our goal was simply casual to say the least. I have counted tens of crosses which i beleive the players thought sombody from high above will put in. After or with Genoa this our worst performance in the current serie A

        • Avatar
          Xx RForcE xX January 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          all 4 losses were our worst performances, our away form is terrible, it’s like we dont even want to play away matches. no more 352 is another thing and no more cuadrado, send him back to fukn chelsea

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

            After this season i think we will see a change on the bench. I cannot see this 352 going further.

          • Avatar
            Xx RForcE xX January 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm

            who would you go for?

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm

            Its easy to say Guardiola. He mentions us at every interview.He coached in England Germany and Spain i think we will see him in Italy as well as the last tap of his coaching career. Well now back on earth. Seeing the interviews Sousa did not deny he was approached. Spalletti would fit in as well. Then maybe just maybe Deschamps. He either be italian or have a linkin past with us. I would go for Spalletti then Sousa then Dechamps. Your ideas?

          • Avatar
            Xx RForcE xX January 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

            no guardiola please lol, i cant stand the man.well i dont have many names, i prefer young and aggresive coach, aggresive that he prefers attacking minded style, dont know but maybe eusebio di francesco would fit my bill, sousa is another choice, i would be happy if ADP was member of coaching staff cos we need bianconero on the bench, Dechamps would be great as well and i also realy like jurgen klopp

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 7:12 pm

            Also please note we need two great central midfilders as well as a right midfielder as neither khedira nor Marchisio can withstand a full season.

          • Avatar
            Xx RForcE xX January 16, 2017 at 7:58 pm

            well, i hope that rincon can do the job so we need one more mid, some pjanic alternative maybe

          • Avatar
            Dar Black January 16, 2017 at 10:39 pm

            Klopp says language and culture is critical for him and his management style. He only speaks German and English, and likes English culture 2nd best after German – hence why he is in England now as he could go no further in Germany unless he took over at Bayern (which he would never do out of respect for Dortmund fans).

          • Avatar
            Dar Black January 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm

            But that would be a 10 million per year pay cut for Pep! No chance of it happening for salary alone, but he hinted recently that Man City will be his last job.

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm

            I replied to myself see above:)

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 10:42 pm

            I did say well now back on earth :). I think Spaletti or Sousa are fine candidates. Also di francesco. But I bet Guardiola will coach in Italy in the near future.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet January 16, 2017 at 1:52 am

    I managed to peek at the result by accident, as was going to watch the full replay when I got home, but now…with the terrible heat wave upon me yet again…i will for the first time this season, watch solely the highlights. I do not need to see more to believe we played horribly…

  • Avatar
    Praval January 16, 2017 at 2:43 am

    This season a loss is not a surprise given the way we have been playing.

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino January 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Couldnt watch the game, but followed a blog with stats and they clearly showed Juve was inferior to the Viola. 2 shots in target against none, 2 missed shots against none, possession advantage for Fiora, no offsides against 2… in just half an hour. 10 minutes later, they scored their first goal.

  • Avatar
    Mixalis Neskis January 16, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Hi to all of you. I sat down yesterday after a long time to see the full match since I was eager to see Rincon and Pjaca play and how their effort would affect our play. What I got from the 96 minutes played yesterday is:

    Cuadrado : The lad looks like an Ice Hockey player without a stick. Every time he gets the ball he is unable to produce anything.

    BBC: Is dead. Barzagli(misplaced far to many passes for the level he plays) is 36, Chiellini far from his best and Bonuci cannot play alone in a back 3.

    Sturaro: He is getting a lot more aggresive that he should, the attitude has nothing to do with the one the team he is playing for is prommoting.

    Dybala: After what I saw yesterday, the 90m offered from real is a steal. He must get himself together or benched until he signs the dammn contract and start playing to his full potential.

    Pjaca: He can blossom on the left flank, but he needs playing time and more so in his natural position.He certainly showed Cuadrado what a winger should do with the ball.

    Alegri: Well , there are 3 options here:
    1)He is either a genius and no one gets why he does the things he does with the system and the choice of the players.
    2)For the conspiracy lovers, he has orders to lose some matches to make Serie A more interesting (highly unlike).
    3) His relationship with the players is not what it should be , and the players do no play for him anymore.
    In any case, he must figure out a way to present something better, because Juve is meant to win the Serie A, but the followes and fans are paying to see the team winning the championship with still not 0-1 with thousands of crossings , back play and fear.