Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Monday 15th March, 2015, 19:45 GMT
Filippo Inzaghi will take his AC Milan side to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Monday evening hoping that the twin effects of Romea s two sides will have softened Fiorentina before their meeting. Having been roundly beaten by Lazio in their last Serie A game before a tough Europa League draw against Roma, Vincenzo Montellaa s side will have to retain their focus if they wish to maintain their good league form against the stuttering Rossoneri. Their defeat against Lazio was Fiorentinaa s first defeat in 9 games, and they remain unbeaten in their last 6 home games, a record going back to the game against Napoli in November. AC Milan are unbeaten in four games themselves, but with three draws amongst them, have been unable to push up the table.
There have been 149 matches between the two sides previously, with the Diavolo triumphing on 68 occasions, though Fiorentina hold a 30-24 lead if only games in Tuscany are taken into account. These two sides also met in the 1975 Coppa Italia Final, a match settled in the Violaa s favour by Paolo Rosi, who failed to score a single Serie A goal for the club.
Team news and tactics
The home side will be looking to give their fans something to cheer about, having lost 4-0 away at European rivals Lazio on Monday. It was Fiorentina’s heaviest defeat in over three years and was somewhat unexpected, having been on a 13-match unbeaten run. Vincenzo Montella, however is the perfect man to guide them after this setback. If ever there was man to get them back on track – it’s him. Montella has worked out on a number of formations his team can utilise and has also moulded each player into filling two to three positions if needed during a game. The fixture against the Rossoneri this Monday looks set to see Montella opt for the 4-3-3 formation to begin the game with, Khouma Babacar likely to lead the line for him. If things go wrong, the Coach will be quick to adopt a 4-4-2 that has been seen in recent weeks, occupying the impressive Mohammed Salah as a striker. If the midfield begins to be dominated, look out for a 3-5-2 line-up change.
Mario Gomez remains out and it is expected that David Pizarro and Joaquin will join him after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Roma. Nenad Tomovic is suspended. Both sides bolstered their squad in January with players who are beginning to show their full abilities now a Montella added both veterans, in the form of Alessandro Diamanti and Alberto Gilardino, but both have been overshadowed by Mohamed Salah, who has three goals in five games to date. All three are likely to play some part in the game, especially with Giuseppe Rossi a long term absentee and Khouma Babacar struggling for fitness. Nenad Tomovic will miss out through suspension.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):Neto(Gk); Richards, Rodriguez, Basanta, Pasqual; Aquilani, Badelj, Valero; Salah, Babacar, Diamanti
It will be a tough task for Pippo Inzaghi and co. to break down such an unpredictable side, but will be buoyant after seeing Lazio dispatch their opponents so easily. They’ll want to forget their last result as soon as possible though, conceding in the 95th minute to gift Hellas Verona a point in a 2-2 draw at San Siro. Milan reside 10th in the standings and are unbeaten in their last four league fixtures, but victories have been hard to come by having won just eight out of 26 matches. On the road, Filippo Inzaghi’s men have secured just two wins from 12, which isn’t the most comforting statistic as Fiorentina have not suffered a loss in their last six home fixtures.
It is likely the 4-3-3 formation will be used by Coach Inzaghi. However there should be a couple of attacking changes with Giampaolo Pazzini and Alessio Cerci being dropped for Mattia Destro and Keisuke Honda. Andrea Poli is out suspended. The Rossoneri added both Mattia Destro and Alessio Cerci to their squad, as well as securing the services of Parmaa s Gabriel Paletta a all are expected to feature, though Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio will be absent through injury alongside Andrea Poli, who is suspended.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):Diego Lopez(Gk); Abate, Paletta, Mexes, Antonelli; Van Ginkel, Essien, Bonaventura; Honda, Destro, Menez
- This will be the 150th meeting between these two teams in Serie A: the Rossoneri lead the head to head record by 68 wins to 40, with 41 draws.
- Milan have scored 234 league goals against Fiorentina, more than against any other opponent in Serie A.
- The Rossoneri have won only one of their last seven league clashes versus Fiorentina (3D, 3L).
Players to Watch Out For
Mohammed Salah (Fiorentina)
The Egyptian’s introduction to Italian football since his loan move from Chelsea in January has been quite simply astounding. Salah has been phenomenal for the Viola, making it seem as Juan Cuadrado never left in the opposite direction. His most recent feats include scoring the winner away at Inter, a brace against Juventus in the Coppa Italia and providing the assist for Josip Ililic’s goal versus Roma in the Europa League.
Mattia Destro (AC Milan)
The 23-year-old forward has signed on loan until the end of the season with an option for the move to be made permanent in the summer. For a couple of seasons now, Italian pundits and followers have sang praises of Milana s 23-year-old Italian forward, Mattia Destro. The youngster, however, has increasingly struggled to justify the hype that surrounded the player in his early days. Now at 23, Destro is quickly running out of time to make a real claim in Italian football. Injuries aside, Destro is quite a gifted striker with a (potentially) bright future ahead of him. He has proved in the past, and this season as well, that he knows how to take his chances. Offered the opportunity, Destro delivers. One can only hope he manages to realise his true potential at Milan.
Fiorentina 2a 1 AC Milan
Fiorentina have had a good season so far despite a big loss against Lazio and the disappointing performance against Roma. Vincenzo Montella will be looking to manage his team get back on the right track, climbing to within one point of fourth position. Fiorentina have been inconsistent in the first part of the season but at the same time stay in touch of the European spots in the league, only four points adrift of Lazio and Napoli. Winning at home would mean Fiorentina are officially back in the group chasing Uefa champions league qualification, while a Milan victory would probably lead the Rossoneri to fight for their prestige as we approach the final stages of this season. Inzaghi’s side may benefit from playing a team that likes to control the match and ball possession but Babacar and Salah might make the decisive difference on Monday.
Blast From the Past
Riccardo Montolivo was enjoying a wonderful return to Florence, scoring one goal and creating another, but AC Milan blew their chance to go second in Serie A after being held to a 2-2 draw by Fiorentina on a Sunday afternoon in 2013.