How far can Montella and Gomez take the Viola this season?
Our “Serie A Six to Watch” series continues after previewing Roma, with a closer look at Fiorentina who will hope to build on last season’s achievements following a promising summer transfer market.
Vincenzo Montella was praised across Italy last season, as he introduced a refreshing style to his football in Florence which entertained not only the Viola faithful, but many of their rivals.
The Italian tactician flooded his squad with technically gifted midfielders who dominated possession and played a brand of silky passing football that has arguably not quite been seen in Italy for some time.
Despite their best attempts their bid for Champions League football fell short on the last day of the season, with a dramatic goal for AC Milan in Siena ensuring the Rossoneri would join both Juventus and Napoli amongst Europe’s elite.
However, despite Stevan Jovetic’s departure, Montella has invested wisely in his squad and the club will be expected to not only challenge for a top three finish, but also grow into a potential title winning side.
The arrivals have been impressive, with Joaquin, Massimo Ambrosini, Josip Ilicic and Marcos Alonso amongst the new faces in Florence this summer.
Nevertheless, the Artemio Franchi reserved a special welcome for German international Mario Gomez, who joins the club after a treble-winning season with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. The 28-year-old was greeted by over 20,000 fans at the stadium, and is expected to deliver the goals to fire the club further up the table.
— ACF Fiorentina (@ACF_Fiorentina) July 15, 2013
Along with the return from injury of Giuseppe Rossi, the duo are expected to form a deadly partnership up front, and early pre-season signs suggest they will not disappoint.
Perhaps the one criticism of this Fiorentina side is that they are slightly imbalanced, with their attacking options undoubtedly stronger than those in defence.
However, Montella will perhaps accept that and emphasise the importance of his side controlling the game by dominating possession and playing at their tempo which has seen them attract the top names in European football over the past year.
There are still concerns over the future of talented youngster Adem Ljajic who is still negotiating over a new contract, but having scored 11 goals last season as a supporting striker the club will be hopeful that he continues to develop and mature into a world-class player in Florence.
There is also a great flexibility about this Fiorentina side, as they are more than capable of switching from a three-man defence to four in the back-line, while also having various options in midfield.
While their main strength will still be their creativity in midfield, which will ultimately lead to Gomez scoring plenty of goals, they should not be underestimated in either Serie A or the Europa League this season.
Probable line-up in Serie A this season: