Wednesday August 29 2012
Fiorentina tipped to impress

Vincenzo Montella’s Serie A debut on the Fiorentina bench ended with a victory against Udinese. Luca Cetta analyses the new look Viola.

With the pre-season talking complete, the action on the pitch played out generally as expected. Juventus continued their unbeaten run as Inter impressed on the Adriatic coast. Roma provided highlights, but Milan struggled. One side tipped to do well and challenge for Europe after an intriguing summer was Fiorentina. If Week 1 was any indication, Vincenzo Montella’s side will be one to watch.

The sight of a sweat-laden Andrea Della Valle swaying in delight as Stevan Jovetic netted a wonderfully crafted injury-time winner was indicative of the feeling at the club at present. “Finally we saw entertaining football again. I am happy for everyone at the club, as after months of sacrifices we really needed a game like this,” declared Della Valle.

The patron and his brother Diego had been left frustrated by their inability to turn plans for a new stadium into bricks and steel. Repeated talks with the local council amounted to little. Their malaise trickled down to the pitch. After Cesare Prandelli’s departure in 2010, performances suffered.

Last vestiges of the old era – Alessandro Gamberini and Riccardo Montolivo amongst them – departed in the summer, but the Viola reinforced accordingly. New acquisitions Emiliano Viviano, David Pizarro, Borja Valero, Facundo Roncaglia and Gonzalo Rodriguez all started on Saturday. Fellow signings Juan Cuadrado, Alberto Aquilani and Mounir El Hamdaoui made substitute debuts.

Utilising a 3-5-2 system, Fiorentina controlled possession from the off against the Friulani. Valero and Pizarro were impressive and together with Romulo controlled the midfield. Manuel Pasqual offered a constant and dangerous outlet on the left-hand side. So much was their dominance – especially after the interval – that had goalkeeper Viviano taken a few steps back to stand in the Curva Fiesole as he did growing up, it would have made little difference.

However, for all Fiorentina’s ability with the ball, Udinese fashioned a rare chance and took the lead. At the other end, without a true No 9 the Viola’s neat interplay lacked any thrust inside the penalty area. Jovetic and Adem Ljajic aided the aesthetics, but at times were in each other’s way. Montella’s men were frustrated time and again until a slice of luck saw Jovetic’s shot deflect off Danilo and loop over Zeljko Brkic. His last-gasp winner was a relief after it looked as if their dominance would equate to no more than a point.

It is by no means a desperate situation. Jovetic showed his scoring prowess last term with 14 goals in 27 games and with only days left in the transfer window Della Valle is adamant the Montenegrin will remain. “Jovetic? Of course he will stay.” Juventus’ latest offer this week, of €30m, has been rejected.

Yet Montella is hoping to have one more striker at his disposal by Friday. “I would like to have a centre-forward with specific characteristics in the box.” Marco Borriello, Nicklas Bendtner and Dimitar Berbatov have been discussed as possible targets. While offering different attributes to the current crop, none are clinical finishers. Nonetheless, playing alongside Jovetic and with their creative midfield fashioning openings, it would add a dangerous dynamic for opposition defences.

After their first-up win Fiorentina face another test, this time away at Napoli. Montella is stressing vigilance. “We are at the start and must not rest on our laurels.” It will also offer an indication as to whether their ball-playing midfield can dominate proceedings against a similarly technical opponent. It may be just one week into a long campaign and despite the caution urged, early signs are positive. When it’s all said and done, the pre-season predictions may well come true. 

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Have your say...
Looks like Berbatov won't be coming to the Viola - pity.

Perhaps we can get Bendtner but need to beat Juve to him.
on the 30th August, 2012 at 9:26am
Ok good news, Berbatov didn't sign for Juventus....

I'm actually impressed with the Viola's signings this term. Brought in quite some notible names like Aquilani, Viviano & Pizarro....
on the 30th August, 2012 at 6:41am
Napoli are going to spank Fiorentina...badly!
on the 29th August, 2012 at 3:18pm
Jovetic is top class they will do well to hold on to him.
on the 29th August, 2012 at 3:04pm
I hope its Fiorentina that signed Berbatov & not Juventus.....
on the 29th August, 2012 at 2:45pm
Let's not go crazy over one game, they really need to get Vargas back to his best too.
on the 29th August, 2012 at 2:41pm
Based on performance, consistency and attitude, Borriello and Bendtner can be rightly questioned on their clinical finishing.
Berbatoiov on the other hand, when given a chance, has proven to be the ideal No.9 for his previous clubs. The age factor may be the only negative when looking at him as an option.

Not a Viola fan but initial looks are great and can only make this season more entertaining and competitive.
on the 29th August, 2012 at 2:40pm
Of the strikers mentioned, I hope they get Berbatov, and I sincerely hope they get anyone except Boriello
on the 29th August, 2012 at 2:32pm
What more, they bought Berbatov...
Pizarro, Aquilani, Prade and Montella.
Last year We had second Barcelona. Today we have second Roma ;].
Nice work Mr Prade!
on the 29th August, 2012 at 1:27pm
Nice start to the season Fiorentina, but now you come to the fiery furnace of the San Paolo. Abandon hope all ye who enter......
on the 29th August, 2012 at 12:26pm

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