Fiorentina will go looking for their first points of the season when they host Juventus on Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence this Saturday. Vincenzo Montella’s side finished last season in similar manner as they started this one and serious questions are being asked about the former Milan and Sevilla manager and his ability to coach at this level.
On the other hand, Montella’s opponents, Juventus, come into this match with all guns blazing. Maurizzio Sarri’s men started the season with two victories and will definitely be looking to make it three-out-of-three here.
Montella under Pressure
Managers who are under pressure because of poor performances hate the international break. These two weeks during which club football halts to a stop are a perfect opportunity for club owners to dispense of their useless managers.
That’s why it must have come as a huge relief to Vincenzo Montella to see the international break end with him still being at the helm of La Viola. However, that might change in the very near future if results don’t start to improve and improve soon.
There were many questions asked during the last press conference which Vincenzo Montella would have rather avoided, but one that really grated him was about the former star striker being out of his depth at this level. Journalists pointed to his sacking from both Sevilla and Milan in the same season and his disastrous end to last season when he almost got Fiorentina relegated.
Montella tried to answer this question by saying that he led both of those two clubs to their biggest achievements in recent years, but nobody in the press room seemed to buy that. At the moment, it looks like Montella is a dead man walking and according to many pundits it is only a matter of time before he is sacked by the club’s new owner.
Fiorentina’s New Man on Top
The man to deliver Montella’s resignation letter will be Fiorentina’s new president Rocco Commisso. Commisso is a New Jersey native and knows a good business deal when he sees one. Recently he spoke about not seeing Fiorentina as a company, but as something resembling a family. However, one can easily imagine how all of his reassurances to Montella will go out the window when he sees his new investment lose match after match.
With all of this being said, Commisso has always been known as someone who is fair towards his new employees. This means that Montella should see the match against Juventus as the first of two or three matches in which he should prove that he deserves to remain at the helm of a much improved Fiorentina team.
New Vision for the Club
The owner has spoken a lot about the direction in which he wants to take the club and his optimistic ideas certainly resonated well with the club’s faithful support. Commisso’s main goal for the moment is to keep the club’s best prospect, Federico Chiesa, and then win something as he himself said it.
In fairness, anybody coming after the infamous Della Valle brothers would have increased optimism around the training ground. The brothers were in charge of the club for 17 years, and even though the club had some very good seasons under their guidance, the last few years saw the brothers lose their connection with fans, players and maybe even reality. There were lots of unpopular decisions being made and Rocco’s arrival at the club certainly seemed like a real blessing to all people who have purple blood in their veins.
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The Battle for Chiesa
The key piece of the puzzle to making Fiorentina the side that it once was is definitely Federico Chiesa. The young forward is a regular for both club and country and for many people he has already proven himself to be better than his father, Enrico Chiesa.
However, keeping the young star will be the first major challenge that Rocco Commisso will face as there is interest for him from all the big clubs. The team which most clearly expressed its intentions of signing Chiesa is actually Fiorentina’s Saturday opponent, Juventus. Maurizzio Sarri and the Juventus scouting team now a good player when they see one and in Chiesa they probably see someone who will be able to lead their line for the next decade.
This gives yet another dimension to Saturday’s match as it will no longer be just a match to collect the first points of the season for Fiorentina and it will no longer be a match labelled as Last Chance Saloon for Montella. It now also is an off and on-the-field battle for one of Italy’s most promising players.
Juventus to Dominate Again
Juventus are in a completely different situation compared to Fiorentina. The Turin side started the season with an easy victory over Parma. That match was followed by yet another victory which this time came against their main rivals for the title, Napoli. The two matches against the Neapolitans are actually worth 12 points for Sarri’s and Ancelotti’s sides as they are direct rivals and Juventus already collected the first six.
This will give them additional motivation to notch yet another victory and keep their main rivals for the title at bay right from the start of the season. We all know that Juventus basically clinched last year’s title by Christmas and they definitely wouldn’t mind repeating that feat once again. As things stand it very much looks like this is on the cards.
The Best of the Best
You know that you are part of a good team when arguably the best player in the world says that you are better than last season. Lionel Messi said this for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus and coming from someone who doesn’t really see eye to eye with the Portuguese, that is some admission.
If we take Messi’s comments at face value and say that this is really the case and Juventus are better than last season, then that is something that their rivals should really worry about. This is because the Old Lady has been dominating Italian football for the last 8 seasons, winning 8 consecutive Serie A titles.
When you couple that with the fact that their last season’s victory was one of the most convincing in recent years, you see that an improvement to last season actually means having the best team in the world. This might sound unrealistic for other teams’ fans, but can you think of a team who has a better squad than Juventus?
Juventus to Triumph in Florence
Cristiano Ronaldo and co shouldn’t have any problems in dispatching Fiorentina and coming away from Florence with three points. They are far superior in all aspects of the game when compared to the hosts and on top of that the atmosphere around their camp is much better.
Fiorentina on the other hand will have all the pressure on themselves to try and get something from this match. However, the problem with this is that this is arguably the most difficult match they will have to play this season (apart from Juventus away) and they come into it in pretty bad form.
They are without a victory in 16 Serie A matches and haven’t won a home game since December. Montella has won only once while in charge of Fiorentina and that is far from encouraging both for fans and for players.
Fiorentina played a good game against Napoli in the first round, but when it mattered they lost their focus. Something similar can be expected against Juventus too. However, this time one has the feeling that Juventus won’t be that generous in defence and won’t concede the 3 goals that Napoli conceded. Juventus will win this one and the pressure for Montella to be sacked will be much stronger on Saturday evening.