Thursday November 26 2015
Tinkering with Fiorentina

Following 2-2 draws against Empoli and Basel, George Rinaldi believes Paulo Sousa is chopping and changing too much.

Everything seemed to be going so swimmingly on Thursday evening. Federico Bernardeschi had given Fiorentina an early lead prior to Facundo Roncaglia's dismissal. The Italian netted again, and the Italians were heading to top spot in the Group. Cue the exact opposite of Sunday's events against Empoli, with Basel fighting back against their former Coach to gain a valuable point.

2-2's have epitomised Fiorentina recently following a love affair with the 2-0 scoreline, and it comes at possibly the worst time. Having built up a good amount of speed and morale from wins over Verona, Frosinone, Lech Poznan and Sampdoria, of which three were away from home, Fiorentina needed to make the most out of their winning run.

Along came Empoli in the derby, and quick-fire goals from Marko Livaja and Marcel Buchel had all but demolished the hopes of Florence. Nikola Kalinic managed to salvage a point, and the fight-back should have been used to push on. Following Thursday's draw, this is quite frankly not the case.

But what Sousa has is some tasty looking fixtures prior to the winter break. Of course people look to teams such as high flyers Sassuolo and the rejuvenated Juventus as potential threats, and they will be, but matches against Udinese, Belenenses and Chievo are huge.

What Sousa must do is not fall into the trap of changing a mass of things from the past two matches, which is what he ended up doing. The line-up in Basel featured seven players who didn’t start against Empoli. With a gap of over four days to get together and prepare for this European affair, what Sousa should have done was tinker slightly.

Now, with just three days to recover, he leaves a number of players on the ropes in a crucial game with Sassuolo.

Borja Valero, the centrepiece of Sousa's football, has played all 180 minutes. There was little sense in keeping him on for both matches and resting bit-part players like Mario Suarez. The choice to keep out both Kalinic and Josip Ilicic was daring and proved costly versus Empoli, yet the former played out all 90 minutes on Thursday. The latter, a key figure in Fiorentina's attack, had to make way after just 33 minutes and is a doubt for Monday.

Fiorentina's one saving grace is that Domenico Berardi is suspended for their clash, and should ease the pain of defending for Gonzalo Rodriguez and Davide Astori. If Fiorentina do get a point from the game, it is a big one, and whatever team Sousa puts out he must largely stick with. The chopping and changing feels Vincenzo Montella-esque.

It proved Montella's downfall, with players getting injured and the wrong individuals starting in the wrong game. Fighting off Sassuolo on Monday would leave a very nice set of fixtures aside from the Juventus clash, and with those matches could come European knockout football and a Champions League spot going into the festive period. All eyes are firmly fixed on Monday, and you can see why.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...

Fiorentina have been nobodies "punching bag" in previous years, and this year their squad looks stronger and younger this year. What makes you think they will become a punching bag this season? They also comprehensively beat and outplayed Inter, and were unlucky against Napoli and Roma.

To the main article, maintaining a title challenging will be increasingly difficult with other teams spending so much. A draw with a tidy Empoli is no disaster. If anything discipline is the biggest issue.
on the 28th November, 2015 at 4:29am
Fiorentina is Serie A's Leicester, soon they will run out of steam and be the punching bag of all big boys.

Quit making a big deal out of a team that is average at best.
on the 27th November, 2015 at 10:45pm
Imagine if Fiorentina got another class forward and defender they might be able to keep up and challenge till the end. Falcao for the top, Benatia at the back. The fans could dream might be worth the owners spending big in Jan to have ago otherwise they will just be that good side that may win a coppa italia every decade like Lazio.
on the 27th November, 2015 at 1:39pm
Continues from my previous comment:

When there is an important match the line-up is always the same:

See against Inter, Napoli, Roma, Samp, Basel ...

Tata-Roncaglia-Gonzalo-Astori-Bernardeschi (Kuba)-Vecino-Badelj-Alonso-Valero-Ilicic-Kalinic

We just need to buy a defender to replace Roncaglia...

Forza Viola
on the 27th November, 2015 at 11:29am
Sousa is great. Apart from Empoli he always puts a very good line-up. But the matches against Empoli and Basel were mainly referees mistakes and bad luck...

Against Basel we were 10 against 12. With the clear penalty denied, Basel's first goal was offside and Incredibly Suchy made 9 fouls on Kalinic! He should have been sent off twice!

Empoli's first goal was clear offside too and bad luck prevented Kalinic from making a hat-trick.

Forza Viola
on the 27th November, 2015 at 11:25am
With Fiorentina's home record in Europe this season, I wouldn't consider European knockout football as a sure bet even against Belenenses. Also please stop with the articles every gameweek of how Italy is closing in on England in UEFA rankings. With Fiorentina's indifferent performances, Garcia's poor handling of Roma in CL and Sampdoria's embarrassing early exit, unless there's a repeat of last season with all PL teams bowing out before the QFs, having 4 CL teams in 2017-18 is highly unlikely.
on the 27th November, 2015 at 9:02am
wow! Sousa!, And still you didn't manage to get rossi in the line-up not even for ten minutes. This man needs his confidence back. Its shame how things going for him. First, he did compensate by agreeing a pay cut in the same contract for his lack of service due to the injuries. Then when everyone respected him for the act and believe he is the one who can guide fiorentina to title which is just a dream for them still sousa dont seems to get it by breaking his promises to inject rossi slowly. Well, this is how the world works forgetting what was their yesterday's priorities . .
on the 27th November, 2015 at 4:59am

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