The violet resistance
Fiorentina will host league leaders Juventus on Saturday afternoon at the Artemio Franchi. The Violets have neither been good nor bad this season overall but it's at home that they've really shown some quality. Juventus have, as expected, dominated Serie A, but now it is the Champions League mid-week for Juve before they travel to Florence on Saturday, something that should test their resilience.
Fiorentina's recent performances make for an interesting analysis. Their last five games have ended in a draw, four 1-1 matches and 0-0 in their last game against Bologna. Fiorentina's last seven games have ended with results below 2.5 goals. Away from home results have been a little worse but most of them have still ended with less than 2.5 goals. At home, Fiorentina have succeeded at holding out against better teams but the problem lies in the fact that although defensively solid they haven't been scoring goals. There is still some quality up front for Fiorentina in Chiesa, Simeone and Pjaca but at the moment it's not clicking. As history demonstrates, Pioli, their manager, is better at organising a defence that inspiring the attack.
There is no doubt that the defensive line of Hugo, Milenkovic and Biraghi is excellent but that by itself is not enough to win matches. Fiorentina's record at home this season averages at 2.33 goals scored versus 0.50 conceded. Their goals scored record is a little misleading as they beat Chievo 6-1 at home in their first match.
Fiorentina could be without Pjaca in the match against Juventus otherwise they have a fully fit squad.
- League Position: 10
There is nothing unexpected about Juventus' Serie A season so far, in which they have dominated. It was another typical 2-0 win against SPAL over the weekend. In fact, 2-0 has been the most common Juventus result this season. Their form has been good both in Serie A and the Champions League, but despite their dominance their away stats are a little worse; 2.17 scored and 0-67 conceded, which is kind of in-line with their common 2-0 scoreline. Traditionally they have not scored as many goals against Fiorentina as they have against other teams and with Juventus playing Valencia in the Champions League there is a good chance that Juve will be rotating their squad for this game. It is likely that their attacking stars in Dybala, Ronaldo or Douglas Costa will be rested. I think this match will be a little tougher for Juve because of this and expect a 0-1 win for the Turin-based team. We do however know how strong defensively this Juventus is, and they will likely not concede many chances this match.
Can and Khedira are out because of injury; Bernardeschi is a doubt.
- League Position: 1
Even though Juve are the favourites to win this match, it is by no means a certainty. Fiorentina have not lost a single match this season and they have an excellent defensive line. Juventus will have to play in the Champions League this week, which may result in some tired legs. I think this will be a slow game with a shortage of goals. I will bet on under 2.5 goals at odds of 4/5