Preview: Fiorentina vs Inter – High Hopes For the Second Leg
After having stopped the three match losing streak last week against Lazio, Inter travel to Tuscany to take on tricky Fiorentina. Match on Friday at 2045 CET.
While the Nerazzurri are still not out of the woods with their poor patch of form that has seen them go five matches with no wins in all competitions, it seems that last week’s draw against an in-form Lazio might have been the right result and display of mental fortitude to give the side the belief to exorcise their demons and finally get a win.
Luciano Spaletti’s woes have most certainly not been in the defensive department; despite having lost his starting right-back and his more experienced central defender, Inter have conceded just four goals in the five win-less matches (not considering Milan’s extra-time goal), three of which have come in the freak match against Udinese. Conversely, Inter’s attacking department has been less that prolific and the Nerazzurri have not scored from open play since the Chievo match way back in early December. Therein seems to be the key to unlocking the victories, if the rest of the squad find a way to compensate for Mauro Icardi’s dry spell, then Inter will be a far more consistent and threatening side.
Fiorentina have had a better than expected run so far this season despite having lost a plethora of important players last summer, that being said, the Viola have been prone to the occasional off performance, as it typical of any Stenfano Pioli side. Spalletti has out smarted his counterpart earlier this season and will look to repeat the first leg’s performance and result.
With both Danilo D’Ambrosio and Joao Miranda still injured, both Joao Cancelo and Andrea Ranocchia will replace them during the match. Both players have deputized more ably so far, with the usually disappointing Ranocchia finding some of his best performances in an Inter jersey.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; Santon, Ranocchia, Skriniar, Cancelo; Gagliardini, Vecino; Perisic, Valero, Candreva; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Fiorentina 5 – 4 Inter
Last 10 Head to Head: Despite it being even between both sides in the last ten matches (both having won five matches each) Fiorentina have the clear edge over Inter in the last six of those ten matches, with Inter winning just two of the six.
Keep an Eye on
Ivan Perisic: While eyes will be focused on both ex-Viola players Vecino and Valero, it is important to remember that Inter’s scoring slump has fully coincided with Perisic’s poor patch of form. If Ivan the Terrible can find his rampant unplayable alter ego on the left flank, then it is unlikely that Fiorentina will be able to resist his assaults.
Refereree: Paolo Valeri
Assistants: Giallatini, Dobosz
Fourth Official: Pasqua
Additional Assistants: Fabbri, La Penna
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Fiorentina 0 – 2 Inter with ex- Viola players Vecino and Valero securing the win.
Author’s Note: Stefano Pioli has done an admirable job with the Viola so far this season, but hopefully the psychological victory of stopping the losing streak against Lazio last week will have carried the squad over the mental hump in order to go out and impose themselves again on the opposition.