The Italian word ‘casino’ does not mean gambling house, but a brothel ,more commonly chaos as in “che casino ” – what a mess. It is a good a word to describe Fiorentina, a club which is always in some form of confusion. Perhaps it has some something to do with the ancient rivalry between the Ghibellines and Guelphs but contention is endemic in Floretnine life. Under the ownership of the Dalle Valle brothers, who own Mr Tod shoes, and the manager Vincenzo Montella the last few years by our standards have been calm and successful.
Last season Fiorentina looked set until the last few moments of the season to qualify for the Champions League, only for Milan to be awarded a penalty. This led to another familiar theme of Fiorentina supporters , the perceived bias by referees to the big clubs, Juventus ,Inter and Milan.
Fiorentina ‘s season started well enough until we played Cagliari, which you English would say was a bad day at the office. Mario Gomez, bought from Borussia Dortmund for €20m, sustained an injury which has put him out till late November, and a late goal was conceded. Late goals were further responsible for lost points against Parma and Inter. The season came resoundingly back on track in the match against bitter rivals Juventus, never forgiven for buying one of our favourite sons Roberto Baggio.The old lady went into a 2 goal lead but in 15 glorious minutes the Viola scored 4 times.
In Guiseppe de Rossi we have one of Europe’s finest strikers provided we can keep him fit as long term injures have beset his career. My favourite player is Columbian Juan Caudrado a wide player with sublime skills. If he can score goals he will be as good as Gareth Bale . Against Napoli he set off on one of his tricky runs only to be upended in the penalty area. He was sent off for simulation (diving) to the derision of the crowd and the familiar cries of dishonest refereeing .
Most Italian clubs play 3 at the back to counter the single attacker with 5 in midfield. Fioretina’s midfield of Caudrado, Pizarro, Aquilani, Borja Valero and Pasquale , is particularly strong . Our weakness is in defence where Neto in goal started the season nervously and the lack of depth to the squad. This could have been a problem on the Europa league as to play your regulars on Thursday evening especially away can tire them for e weekend game. However the Viola top their section winning every game with a notable victory in the freezing cold at Dnipro.
Fiorentina have never played the more percentage Italian game epitomised by the catennaccio system, but more a free wheeling cavalier style. The present team adopts this and have been complimented on their attractive style. Maybe it is the purple shirt, or coming from the Renaissance city, but Fiorentina have always has a certain air – once described as a beautiful woman who does not know how to lead her life. Montella’s team has more ” grinta” (guts) but I fear this lack of depth will prevent a top three spot.
Finally I must mention Roma, the surprise package who won their first 8 games. This is surprising as they were sellers but owes much to manager Rudi Garcia, who has drawn together a winning outfit challenging the big boys in the north. Napoli under Rafa Benitez are doing well in the competition. de Laurentis, the son of the film director, has established an exciting and winning project there which has survived the loss of their 2 forwards Lavezzi and Cavalan. Juventus, who have the strongest squad, are of course up there but Milan continue to be in decline reflecting the status of the owner Berlusconi. We won 2-0 comfortably in the San Siro and the rossoneri looked quite ordinary.