Saturday December 21 2019
Viola lagging behind Roma

Roma proved they are at a far more advanced stage of their American project in every sense compared to Fiorentina, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.

When Italy sent its sons and daughters overseas, it could hardly have dreamed of nights like these: two of Serie A’s most famous sides going head to head under the ownership of those who ended up in the States to seek their fortune. It will be James Pallotta who enjoys bragging rights over Rocco Commisso the next time they meet at some country club.

The two find themselves at different stages of their adventure back in the old homeland. The Viola supremo is very much at the honeymoon stage of his Italian escapade with the fans firmly on his side, but a team still in the construction phase. His Giallorosso counterpart may have more issues with his own support, but his squad demonstrated in Florence it was much more of the finished article.

In fairness to Fiorentina, they were deprived of two of their crown jewels for this match-up. Franck Ribery with his foot in a moonboot was not what the Curva Fiesole wanted to see for any length of time. And Federico Chiesa - targeted by transfer rumours and ruthless defenders in equal measure - was also looking on in a crocked condition. These were the brightest stars in the Viola constellation at the times when this team shone earlier in the season.

That should not diminish how good Roma have become and how quickly they have developed under Paulo Fonseca. Wearing a bunnet that looked like some kind of Portuguese Peaky Blinder, he watched his players clinically slice apart the home defence repeatedly. This is a squad which is battling for a Champions League finish on merit with an exciting mix of endeavour and elegance.

A special word of merit for Chris Smalling is deserved here, as he carves out a role which is giving a lie to Italian prejudices about English defenders. Alongside Gianluca Mancini - a source of some regret in Florence after coming thought their youth ranks - he has shown composure and class few expected. Along with Amadou Diawara sitting in front of the defence, they provide a base for the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolò Zaniolo (another cause of chagrin in Tuscany) and Diego Perotti to strut their stuff. And then, of course, they have a master of the striker’s art who is improving with age in the shape of Edin Dzeko.

Not that they are without their flaws, of course, as witnessed in this clash. Some sloppy work left the door open for Fiorentina for a while when a more accomplished side would have finished them off. And if this was a sort of job application from Alessandro Florenzi for a post at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, most of us would have concluded: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Nonetheless, the gap between the teams looked enormous by the full-time whistle.

From a Tuscan standpoint, there was also confirmation of what was already known. Vinnie Montella’s men are capable of playing decent football - especially against Serie A’s better sides - but are terribly lacking in cutting edge. That’s partly down to injuries but also trying to play Kevin-Prince Boateng in an attacking role which has singularly failed to get the best out of him.

What they need to show soon is that they can deliver some of their finer football - and a few goals - against a team near them at the foot of the table. Only Dusan Vlahovic and Gaetano Castrovilli came out of this clash with much credit.

All of which will have been watched with interest across the Atlantic Ocean. Italian football can be a challenging and often infuriating world for foreign investors, which both Pallotta and Commisso can already testify. On Friday night’s evidence, however, its rewards are much closer at hand for the Roma man than they are for his Fiorentina counterpart just yet.

Have your say...
Fiorentina need their new 40.000 seater stadium NOW.
on the 30th December, 2019 at 2:11pm
Transfer list for fiorentina if they want to get back to themselves : Antonio Rudigar, Rafinha Alcantra, Timo Werner. These are the standards they always had maintained in the past. But now the standard has fallen remarkably with minor mentality..
on the 23rd December, 2019 at 8:39am
@FERBAN,, You're probably right. Hiring lachini by sacking montella definetly a degradation. Otherwise they would have linked with some mid to high profile coaches...
on the 22nd December, 2019 at 11:48am
@FERBAN,, Dont be so upside down. Definitely they have to raise the bar high as they used to. I suggested the top target and the direction as well. Just As kalinic being bought in cheap and became a hit. To get a bargain you have to toiling over. In werner case its hard but milik or someone from serie a with striking pedigree such as lasagna or petagna wouldnt be that bad. Thing is they lost it that old spark in them.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 6:51pm
come on you have a team which in the last 10 years have basically had a transfer deficit of 5 million euros which is laughable for a team which wants to play european football and bare in mind they academy has only really started to come good in the last 6 years.

ribery and boateng were decent signings but fiorentina need a prolonged strategy for improving the team which needs to start with fiorentina ownership spending some money on this team.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 5:38pm

How exactly would Fiorentina get Werner from Leipzig?! Milik is off the table too. They have no money.

Strange how people think this new owner has spent a fortune, when in reality he barely has.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 1:58pm
Fioretina could have taken diego perotti from roma when they gave veretout to roma. And they dont have a model striker to flaunting it. Lazio have immobile, napoli got milik, roma got dzeko, fiorentina got who?? Atleast should have tried to get milik from napoli or timo werner from leipzig.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 7:55am
The squad is more superior to the squads of lecce sassuolo bologna veriba...

The problem is montella.

He does not have the ability to get the best out of players.

Montiel in less than half hour provided two assists in coppa. Then sent to primavera. Ask montella why.

Sottil was great preseason as a winger. What montella did? Used him as a wingback, which he has never played was predictable he wouldn't do good in that role...

Wenger or Emery to rise...

Fiorentina per sempre
on the 21st December, 2019 at 7:34am
I couldn't understand why everyone was so excited at Fiorentina's summer transfer campaign when it happened.

Ribery has done well but, predictably, has succumbed to long-term injury.

Boateng is long past his best and has done as much as I expect - not a lot.

Pulgar, Caceres, Pedro? All decent, but nothing special. The loans are a bit better, but no world-beaters
on the 21st December, 2019 at 1:37am

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