Fiorentina vs Roma: Preview and Prediction
With Serie A entering its business end, Fiorentina and Roma square off against each other in an intensifying fight for the final three European spots on offer at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Monday. The Lillies are ranked seventh in the table with 56 points in their bag. Roma, on the other hand, is just two spots above them but heads into the fixture on the back of a tiring game against Leicester City in England.
With only three matchdays remaining in Serie A, Fiorentina won’t get a better opportunity than this to close in on the sixth position. They close their campaign with a fixture against Juventus and points won’t be easy to come by against them. Fiorentina last featured in continental competitions in 2016 and their fans will settle for nothing less than a return to Europe.
Jose Mourinho has complained unceasingly about Roma’s fixture fatigue, having traversed from Norway to Turkey in Europe this season. La Lupa can’t finish mathematically inside the top four of Serie A but need to step their best foot forward to finish fifth and feature in the Europa League the next season.
Despite having a larger driving force to motivate them, Fiorentina doesn’t have the proper form to back them up. After beating Venezia 1-0 in mid-April, they lost all their next four encounters. The victory was followed by a 2-0 loss to Juventus in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals and a 1-2 defeat to relegation-threatened Salernitana.
With low morale haunting the side, Udinese thrashed Fiorentina 4-0 with two of their goals coming in the added minute of the second half. It seemed that they would salvage a draw against table-toppers Milan but a goalkeeping error allowed the Rossoneri to pip them 1-0 with just ten minutes left on the clock.
Unlike their opponents who have played only seven matches since April, Roma has played nine games in the same period that also saw them travel to Norway and England. A last-minute goal by Stephan El Shaarawy helped Roma equalise 1-1 against Napoli but they lost 1-3 to Inter the next week.
Roma followed it with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City and subsequently held Bologna to a goalless draw in the Serie A. An 11th-minute goal by Tammy Abraham against the Foxes in the second leg of the Conference League semi-finals was enough for a Roma victory and should hopefully be sufficient to increase their confidence against Fiorentina.
Head to Head Record
The two Central Italian clubs faced each other 31 times and Roma came out on top on 22 occasions. Fiorentina had the upper hand only seven times with two of their encounters ending in a draw. Of the 15 encounters played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Roma won 11 times while Fiorentina edged them thrice.
In the last meeting between the two sides, Roma beat Fiorentina 3-1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave the home side the lead in the 26th minute against a ten-man outfit before the Lilies restored parity in the 60th minute through Nikola Milenkovic after Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo got sent off four minutes earlier. However, Jordan Veretout replied with a brace within a span of fifteen minutes to seal the three points.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan suffered an injury against Leicester City in the first leg of the Conference League semi-finals and is unlikely to recover in time. Mourinho admits that Mkhitaryan’s style of play is irreplaceable and the abilities he brings to the centre of the park are unparalleled.
Sergio Oliveira took his position in the second leg and played a pivotal role in his side’s victory. Mourinho may field the same side that faced Leicester in the midweek.
Apart from Gaetano Castrovilli who suffered a knee injury in April, Fiorentina has a full-fledged side at its disposal. Searching for goals, the Violas might field Riccardo Sotil upfront to try something new.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Pietro Terracciano; Cristiano Biraghi, Igor, Nikola Milenković, Lorenzo Venuti; Youssef Maleh, Sofyan Amrabat, Alfred Duncan; Riccardo Sotil, Arthur Cabral, Nicolás González
Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patrício; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smallling, Roger Ibañez; Rick Karsdorp, Sergio Oliveira, Bryan Cristante, Nicola Zalewski; Nicolò Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Tammy Abraham
With form and class both in Roma’s favour, Fiorentina could find it tough to breach their defence. To compound their woes, Fiorentina has lacked the cutting edge in the final third in recent games. We predict a 1-0 victory for Roma.