10/03/13 – Lazio vs Fiorentina (Serie A)

Lazio vs FiorentinaThe suspended Antonio Candreva joins the list of Lazio absentees, alongside first choice right back Abdoulay Konko and star striker Miroslav Klose. Vladimir Petkovic probably has two options to replace Candreva – either Stefano Mauri comes in as a direct replacement on the right of midfield, or Alvaro Gonzalez moves wide from a central role and Lazio play two forwards. Given Sergio Floccari’s difficulty in replacing Klose in attack by himself pairing him with Louis Saha may be a good option, but Petkovic has favoured a midfield five this season to accommodate Hernanes, so may go for the conservative option.

Fiorentina may also be considering a tactical switch. Having deployed a 3-5-2 system all season, Vincenzo Montella has used a 4-3-3 variation for the previous two games. The reasons for the change are unclear and the results were mixed – Fiorentina lost the first game but beat Chievo in the second, and in both games Montella made second half substitutes that allowed a move back to a 3-5-2 shape. There is the possibility that he may persist with this tactic, but against as strong an opponent as Lazio, especially one that is currently under-strength, it is more likely that Fiorentina will return to what they know. This is likely to result in Luca Toni dropping out of the forward line and fit again Facundo Roncaglia competing with Nenad Tomovic for the third centre back position.

Both clubs have enjoyed promising seasons, but have also stuttered of late. Lazio have won only once in Serie A in seven games, whereas Fiorentina have lacked consistency since the new year… (Read more)

17/02/13 – Fiorentina vs Inter Milan (Serie A)

Fiorentina vs Inter Milan (3-4-1-2)Fiorentina will want to bounce back from their comfortable loss to Juventus last weekend. Vincenzo Montella’s side paid for playing too flat across midfield, allowing Juventus too much space between the lines for both Andrea Pirlo to exploit from deep and Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal to run into. Montella surprisingly started with Luca Toni in attack alongside Stevan Jovetic, but the pair’s lack of defensive aptitude may see a return for Adem Ljajic.

Inter Milan’s approach is harder to predict – manager Andrea Stramaccioni is one of the most tactically versatile coaches in Europe. Inter have regularly switched between variations of a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 system, so predicting their starting system is difficult. Stramaccioni tends to mirror teams that play three in defence, which would suggest a 3-5-2 variation will be used. Nevertheless, to cover both possibilities and to consider their strengths and weaknesses against Fiorentina’s flat 3-5-2 formation, Inter’s two tactical options will be analysed… (Read more)

09/02/13 – Juventus vs Fiorentina (Serie A)

Juventus vs FiorentinaFiorentina have stuttered of late but travel to Juventus having been unlucky not to get more than a draw from the reverse fixture earlier in the season. Vincenzo Montella will use his regularly 2-5-2/3-6-1 system to stifle Juventus’ midfield and build from deep. Antonio Conte will continue with his 3-1-4-2 system that has served his side so well, but the addition of Nicolas Anelka adds to the selection dilemma in attack. Since the Serie A winter break Juventus have stalled a little, losing one and drawing two of their five games in 2013, so the home side will be keen to get back to winning ways… (Read more)