Serie A Week 15 - 7/12/08 (14.00 UK)
Torino - Fiorentina
Away trips to Torino have a habit of being memorable occasions for Fiorentina fans. On the final day of last season, the Viola travelled to the Olimpico and edged out the Granata 1-0 to beat Milan to fourth spot and book their place in the 2008-09 edition of the Champions League.
Fiorentina were recently ousted from that competition and know that in order to qualify for it again they will need to pick up maximum points in Torino, where they have not lost for six years. The Viola currently lie sixth in Serie A just a point away from Napoli who reside in fourth, but are struggling for consistency.
Cesare Prandelli’s side have only won two of their last five games and have not recorded back-to-back victories since the end of October. After thrashing Udinese two weeks ago – scoring four goals in under half and hour – Fiorentina were outclassed by Roma at the weekend. A single strike separated the two teams, but the Giallorossi hit the woodwork on several occasions and made Sebastien Frey really work for his money.
That defeat was Fiorentina’s fifth on the road this season and so a weekend away in Torino is just what the doctor and the club’s fans would order. Toro are in dire straits. They are a point above the relegation zone and have only won one of their last five games. Fans may point to injuries and several dubious refereeing decisions to explain the club’s recent plight, but the simple matter is Torino aren’t competitive.
Gianni De Biasi’s third stint as Torino Coach certainly has not been lucky, but his main problem is that the players rarely show any desire to pull in the same direction. Toro went down all too easily at Siena on Sunday and La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote this damning report of their performance: “Siena play football, while Torino are a mixture of names that do not make up a team.”
A Fiorentina victory is on the cards. Unfortunately for De Biasi, the writing is on the wall. Roberto Donadoni and Walter Novellino have been muted to replace him should Torino lose.
Keep an eye on: Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina) – Born in Caravaggio, Montolivo has always been known for his masterpieces, but his lack of consistency has provoked the ire of some of even his most ardent supporters. Accustomed to proving people wrong, the 23-year-old has just produced consecutive Man of the Match performances and scored two goals.
Last season: Torino 0-1 Fiorentina
Form guide: Torino (L W L D L) Fiorentina (L W L W L)
Torino (probable): Sereni; Diana, Natali, Pratali, Rubin; Colombo, Dzemaili, Barone, Rosina; Stellone, Bianchi
Fiorentina (probable): Frey; Zauri, Kroldrup, Gamberini, Vargas; Kuzmanovic, Felipe Melo, Montolivo; Santana; Gilardino, Mutu
Ref: To follow…