Just one round into the new season, the Viola fans have received the devastating news for the 3rd time in two years, Peppito Rossi is injured yet again and he’ll be sidelined for quite a lengthy time, smashing all the hopes of a promising season. But is it really over for Fiorentina? are they out of the race for the 3rd Champions spot before it even starts? let’s see.
Last year, Fiorentina’s problem wasn’t only Rossi’s injury, of course it had a big impact on the course of their season, especially the fight for the 3rd spot and their European adventure. But for me, Fiorentina’s biggest problem aside from the injuries to their main attackers Gomez and Rossi was their inconsistency, Vicenzo Montella with no doubt is one of the best rising tacticians around Europe, and Barca’s interest early proves this, but the “aeroplano” has failed till now to reach his “ideal” Fiorentina that he sees in his mind.
The team lacked a definite shape and tactics, one time playing a four backline, the following game you can see them shifting to a 3 man defense! the positioning of his players as well, Juan Cuadrado has been used as a right back, right wing, left wing, second striker, playmaker & a false nine last season!
Of course injuries can be blamed for that many changes, but only partially, you need a base formation and clear ideas where you build your team upon and then changes can be applied to this formation as needed every game. However, you can’t just keep experimenting every game till the end of the season, the result was a 4th place with a big margin from 3rd spot finalists Napoli. An early Europa League exit despite a promising group run and a Coppa final that they lost to Napoli as well. I bet with some continuity and clear ideas, this team with the quality and players available could have achieved much better last season.
So, what should Montella do to avoid another unfruitful season with the Viola? Peppito Rossi’s absence can’t be underestimated, and it’ll leave a gap hard to fill upfront, but still, this team has the options to function well in his absence. Montella has to find the best formation for this team early on & from the start of the season and stick with it & stop experimenting , for me, this team can function best in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation with the players available.
Mario Gomez should be deployed as a lone forward, either supported with Cuadrado (Joaquin) and Marin (Ilicic), or by two wingers and a playmaker, a position either Mati Fernandez can fill or Borja Valero too. La Viola had already done an excellent job in keeping their star man Cuadrado during the summer transfers and Montella should fix him in the right wing position, giving him his attacking freedom, that’s were he functions best and his abilities explode. Cuadrado on his day can make Fiorentina totally unstoppable and any absence for G.Rossi could go unnoticed!
In the midfield, there are a host of good options to use, whether it’s a two man midfield or three, Borja Valero is a guarantee given his versatility and the variety of roles he can play. David Pizarro despite his increased age he’s still one of the best deep lying midfielders in the Italian game, a very vital role always in Montella’s tactics and the arrival of Croatian talent Milan Badelj can provide the best cover in case of Pizarro’s absence. With the introduction of Jasmin Kurtic and the presence of Aquilani, Brillante and Lazzari they have plenty of options in this area.
In the defense, Fiorentina bolstered their backline with two good names in Jose Basanta, the Argentinian international and Micah Richards from Manchester City. Two players who can both either play out wide or in the center of the defense, giving flexibility and both can function well whether a three or four man defense line is deployed.
So, as we see, Fiorentina has quite a formidable squad that can adapt well to the absence of Peppe Rossi. It’s all in Montella’s hand to find the perfect equilibrium for this team, if he does expect a very competitive Fiorentina with or without Rossi!