Fiorentina, whilst top of the serie a, have not covered thèmselves with glory in their Europa League campaign losing at home to both Basel and Lech Posnan. A victory last night at Lech Posnan was crucial and achieved but manager Paolo Sousa had to rest key players like Kalinic and Valero with Sunday evening’s game against Sampdoria in mind. It’s an odd competition which you are happy to enter … and sometimes even happier to leave. In the case of Fiorentina, who lack depth to their squad, Sousa has clearly made the serie a and one of the three Champions League positions the main priority.
It was not the most exciting of spectacles. Both Viola goals were scored by Josip Ilacic. He was bought a couple of seasons ago from Palermo for €9m. A skilful attacking midfielder he has 2 problems: he does not work hard enough and he is totally left-sided. His first goal was a glorious free kick, the second a neat dink over the keeper. It was a game that Fiorentina always controlled, I cannot recall reserve keeper Sepi having to make a save. It’s possible we get a draw at Basel, a former club of Sousa, but the final game at home v Belenenses that Fiorentina have beaten 4-0 away looks a formality.
We were surprised over here to see Arsenal so badly beaten. I know Bayern Munich have scored an incredible 27 goals. Nonetheless the defending was very poor and not one one would expect from a team that qualifies every year for the Champions League. We take the view that no English club gets close to the big three of Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Time was too when Juvnetus, Milan and Inter were feared opponents in Europe but only Juventus are these days and possibly Napoli.