Friday May 2 2014
Higuain fit to start, Valero ‘false 9’?

Fiorentina’s Neto, Borja Valero and Gonzalo Rodriguez and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain may all be available to start Saturday’s Coppa Italia Final.

La Viola began the week with uncertainty over the physical condition and availability of their first-choice goalkeeper Neto, playmaker Valero and defender Rodriguez for tomorrow evening’s Cup Final in Rome.

However, on from including all three in his matchday squad to travel out to the capital, reports today are that Vincenzo Montella will be able to call on all three from the first minute if required.

Speculation is that the trio will start, with Rodriguez set to line up alongside Nenad Tomovic, Stefan Savic and Juan Manuel Vargas in a back four.

Valero is seen as likely to start in midfield alongside David Pizarro and Alberto Aquilani, whilst attack looks set to be with Josip Ilicic and Joaquin Sanchez flanking Alessandro Matri, suggesting a place on the bench for Giuseppe Rossi if he is passed fit for involvement at all.

Further conjecture surrounding Montella’s plans for the final is that Valero may actually play in a ‘false 9’ role in place of Matri, and that Mati Fernandez would then come into midfield.

Meanwhile, Napoli are preparing to start with Gonzalo Higuain in attack, following his return to training this week and his inclusion in the matchday squad, after a recent knock.

Rafa Benitez’s key selection quandary reportedly hinges on picking between Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne in attack alongside Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon, whilst Valon Behrami is behind Gokhan Inler and Jorginho for a place in midfield.

Henrique, Federico Fernandez, Raul Albiol and Faouzi Ghoulam are seen as set to start in defence ahead of Pepe Reina between the sticks.

Probable Coppa Italia Final line-ups

Fiorentina: Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Savic, Vargas; Aquilani, Pizarro, Borja Valero; Ilicic; Joaquin, Matri

Napoli: Reina; Henrique, Fernandez, Albiol, Ghoulam; Inler, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain