MX23RW : Thursday, April 15 02:33:29| >> :120:43581:43581:
Mar 3, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Artemio Franchi
FiorentinaFiorentina
1-2
RomaRoma
Spinazzola (60' og.)
Ribery (71')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Spinazzola (49'), Diawara (88')
Mancini (40'), Kumbulla (74')

Preview: Fiorentina vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Fiorentina and Roma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking to bounce back quickly from another spirit-sapping defeat to a major rival at the weekend, Roma travel to Stadio Artemio Franchi on Wednesday, targeting all three points to keep up with the pace near the Serie A summit.

The 14th-placed hosts, meanwhile, are still mired in mid-table obscurity, after a run of three defeats from their last four league games.


Match preview

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca pictured in February 2021© Reuters

In almost predictable fashion, Roma slumped to a 2-1 defeat against an admittedly impressive Milan team at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday - just the latest in a string of failures versus the current big boys of Calcio.

Generally dominating more modest opposition but tending to crumble when facing their main top-four rivals, such as Juventus, Atalanta and city rivals Lazio - each of whom they have lost to in the past few weeks - the Giallorossi were once more thwarted in their quest to sustain a push for a long overdue Scudetto.

After the game, coach Paulo Fonseca sought to avoid excuses and bluntly accepted his side's flaws, acknowledging that they are often "missing something" against the big clubs. Chastened once again, the capital club may enjoy taking on an unimpressive Fiorentina team in this midweek round of fixtures far more - with the Tuscan team much more fitting the profile of opposition that they can tear open with their typically slick passing and clinical finishing displays.

Roma have certainly held the edge over them in recent times, going unbeaten in their last five Serie A meetings - including the reverse fixture earlier this season, which saw Fonseca's men win 2-0 at Stadio Olimpico in November. Nonetheless, the pressure to repeat the dose will be intense, given how things are panning out at the sharp end of the table.

Currently embroiled in a hotly-contested seven-way battle for European places next term, Roma are now just three points above Napoli and Lazio in the standings. After crashing out of the Coppa Italia to humble Spezia and having subsequently dropped off the pace in the title race, under-fire Fonseca is now expected to seal a return to the continent's top table next term.

Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic pictured in action in Serie A on July 22, 2020© Reuters

Looking to win only their second top-flight match on the road and claim successive league victories for the first time this season, Fiorentina visited fellow mid-table outfit Udinese on Sunday, but were frustrated to come away without a share of the spoils after Ilija Nestorovski's late winner for the Bianconeri.

Young Serbian centre-back Nikola Milenkovic was at fault for the only goal of the game, at the end of a week when he was heavily linked with a summer switch to Premier League giants Manchester United.

It was a rare error from a regularly impressive performer, though, and Viola coach Cesare Prandelli's chief concerns still lie in attack. Now amid a run of only four points from their last five games, Fiorentina have tallied a mere 25 goals all season long - at an average of just over one per game - only the hapless pair of Parma and Crotone have fared worse in the final third.

Milenkovic's compatriot Dusan Vlahovic, born in 2000, has netted nine league goals to date, but the inexperienced striker is lacking in support from his forward colleagues and must carry a heavy burden for one so young, as the gradually declining Franck Ribery has been stalled by injury concerns and others have flattered to deceive.

Ahead of Roma's visit this week, Prandelli's men can at least take encouragement from the strength of their form at the Franchi this term - when taking only home results into account, they would actually sit ninth in the table.

Perhaps the height of Fiorentina's remaining ambitions for the 2020-21 campaign, then, will be to push on into the top half of the table, where they have ultimately finished in seven of the last eight Serie A seasons. Another home triumph on Wednesday would go a long way to kick-starting that challenge, but their task against Roma will be a tall one.

Fiorentina Serie A form: WDLLWL

Roma Serie A form: WWLWDL
Roma form (all competitions): LWWDWL


Team News

Roma defender Chris Smalling pictured warming up on November 5, 2020© Reuters

After a long absence, Roma centre-back Chris Smalling returned to full group training this week and may be ready to take a place on the bench, helping his coach Paulo Fonseca take one step closer to resolving a defensive crisis which has undermined his selections in recent games.

Smalling's fellow defenders Roger Ibanez, Davide Santon and Riccardo Calafiori all trained separately and will not return yet, so Marash Kumbulla is likely to come in for error-prone Federico Fazio in the back three, alongside versatile Bryan Cristante and Gianluca Mancini.

Young Gonzalo Villar, who also struggled in the defeat to Milan, could be replaced by Amadou Diawara in central midfield, while former captain Edin Dzeko suffered a groin strain in the Europa League last week and must miss out once again. In his absence, recent regular Borja Mayoral will be charged with leading the line up front.

Home manager Cesare Prandelli has both Giacomo Bonaventura and Christian Kouame unavailable, with both expected to remain missing through injury until later this month.

Even without Kouame, Fiorentina have several options to partner Dusan Vlahovic at the top end of Prandelli's 3-5-2, as Franck Ribery may not be able to manage two starts in three days at this stage of his career. Controversial January signing Aleksandr Kokorin would be the chief contender, though Jose Callejon or Valentin Eysseric could alternatively feature in a more advanced role.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Quarta; Venuti, Amrabat, Pulgar, Castrovilli, Biraghi; Vlahovic, Ribery

Roma possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Mancini, Cristante, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Veretout, Diawara, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Mayoral


SM words green background

We say: Fiorentina 1-2 Roma

Although Roma's away record pales into insignificance when compared to their generally excellent form in the capital, they should have just enough firepower to overcome a relatively turgid and directionless Fiorentina outfit on Wednesday.

The hosts have not beaten the Giallorossi at Stadio Artemio Franchi since 2016 and simply do not possess the individual quality to break that run this time around.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan30235269274274
2AC Milan30196557352263
3Juventus30188461273462
4Atalanta BCAtalanta30187571383361
5Napoli30192965343159
6Lazio2917484638855
7Roma30166854441054
8SassuoloSassuolo30111094948143
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona30118113835341
10Sampdoria30106143945-636
11Bologna3097143946-734
12Udinese3089133240-833
13Genoa30711123244-1232
14SpeziaSpezia3088144055-1532
15Fiorentina3079143849-1130
16BeneventoBenevento3079143055-2530
17Torino29512124252-1027
18CagliariCagliari3057183151-2022
19Parma30311162959-3020
20Crotone3043233777-4015

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