Fiorentina will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday evening when they host Genoa at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
The international break probably came at the worst possible time for the Viola, given their second half capitulation away to Torino which resulted in a 3-1 defeat. The performance of the Viola in their opening week 2-0 victory over Milan offered their fans much hope for the coming season, but those dreams came crashing down to earth with the performance against Torino.
Fiorentina coach, Paulo Sousa, has much to consider ahead of the match against the Ligurian outfit, particularly whether to restore Milan Badelj to the starting line-up after his good performance against Milan. Sousa will also assess the effects of the international break before deciding whether to rest either Gonzalo Rodriguez or Facundo Roncaglia who only returned to Italy late on Thursday after being away on international duty with Argentina. If so, Davide Astori will likely come into the team. At the same time, Sousa may also look to find a starting place for recent loan acquisition from Borussia Dortmund, Jakub Blaszczykowski, potentially at the expense of Josep Ilicic who was poor against Torino.
Fiorentina had 65% possession against Torino, yet only managed to convert that into 4 attempts on target, while their opponents managed 3 goals with only 5 shots on target and 35% possession. Sousa will need to assess whether a more direct attacking approach is required, without leaving the team open to the likely counter-attacking approach that will be adopted by the visitors.
Giuseppe Rossi is deemed match-fit enough for a place in the starting line-up, following his 17 minute run-out against Torino. Fiorentina staff and fans will be crossing their fingers that Rossi will not get injured again.
Genoa will be going into the match full of confidence following their 2-0 home win over Hellas Verona, a game in which they scored twice in the second half. Genoa will likely be missing Sebastian Di Maio and Leonardo Pavoletti who have not recovered from injuries picked up during the game against Verona. The potential loss of Pavoletti will be a blow to Genoa coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, given his opening goal in the win over Verona.Gasperini will however be hopeful that Goran Pandev continues the impressive form and influence he showed in the Verona game.
The two previous rounds of this fixture resulted in draws; 3-3 in January 2014 and 0-0 in August 2014; and the sides also drew 1-1 when they met at the Stadio Luigi Ferrari in January this year. Even at this early stage of the season, both sides can ill-afford to drop points, although Genoa, being the away side, will be the happier of the 2 sides if recent history maintains itself.
Notable quotes from Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa:
On international break
“We are happy many of our players represented their country (for international duty), however it gives us less time to prepare for the match with the whole squad.”
On Giuseppe Rossi
“I hope he can return quickly to play at 100%. He must play with continuity. We must be cognizant he has not played (regularly) in two years. Tomorrow he will start from the first minute.”
Objectives for the season
“We can be competitive against everyone. We can win against anyone whether at home or on the road.”
Thoughts on Genoa
“It’s the club that has caught my attention, especially their offensive potential in their organization. We want to put Genoa in difficulty and we shall succeed.”
In what role will Rossi play?
“Intelligent players can play anywhere. He understands the movements of his teammates and makes quick decisions. We worked in different scenarios, with one striker or two.
Defense with 3 or 4 players?
“We will proceed based on our convictions. We have demonstrated to be on the right path. We must continue this way. It is important to adjust based on our opponent and I must make the right decision for the right formation.”