Sassuolo have exceeded all expectations under Roberto De Zerbi this season - currently sitting fifth in the Serie A standings - and travel to Florence this Wednesday aiming to pick up another three points at the expense of struggling Fiorentina.
Despite a recent change of management, La Viola are now only three points clear of the relegation zone after a 3-0 thumping by Atalanta at the weekend and are finding goals incredibly hard to come by.
After enjoying a startling start to the campaign, claiming just one point from a possible six - in games against Roma and Inter Milan - had slightly slowed Sassuolo's momentum.
Even last Friday night's defeat of plucky Benevento was ultimately a hard-fought win for Roberto De Zerbi's 10 men, as Slovak winger Lukas Haraslin was sent off just after the break and their Campanian visitors then pressed strongly for an equaliser.
Star man Domenico Berardi's penalty after eight minutes decided the outcome, allied to a great effort from a defence marshalled by Gian Marco Ferrari - who has gained admiring glances from scouts around Europe of late - and experienced goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.
Highly-rated coach De Zerbi claimed afterwards that the Neroverdi will soon "go back to being brilliant" - citing niggling injuries to first-choice players as mitigation for his team's relative drop-off in form.
That encounter with Pippo Inzaghi's promoted outfit was preceded by a soporific goalless draw at Roma, so they must now recover their spark and spirit with future fixtures in mind.
After their Wednesday trip to Florence, Sassuolo have a challenging schedule to come either side of the brief winter break - with AC Milan, Atalanta and Juventus all to come in the space of five games.
However, they have benefited - unlike most of their top-half rivals - from an unbroken series of midweek rests, as the overachieving Serie A underdogs have not been on European or Coppa Italia duty as yet.
De Zerbi's side have won their last two Serie A away matches against Wednesday's opponents and are aiming to remain unbeaten for six successive away matches for the first time in their limited top-flight history.
Sassuolo have also kept the most clean sheets in the top five European Leagues since the start of November - with five in six games - so should have few problems in shutting out Fiorentina's mediocre attack.
Following a 3-0 reverse against Atalanta on Sunday - their sixth league game without a win - the Fiorentina hierarchy sent Cesare Prandelli's squad into a 'ritiro' (training retreat) ahead of Sassuolo's visit.
With only two wins, three draws and six defeats in Serie A this season, the Viola are without a league victory since late October, against Udinese. Just a solitary top-flight goal since then - a scrambled 99th-minute equaliser against fellow strugglers Genoa - clearly demonstrates where the root of their problems lie.
The removal of Beppe Iachini in favour of former fans' favourite Prandelli has had virtually no positive impact so far, as the ex-Azzurri boss has registered just one point from four league games since his return to the Artemio Franchi dugout.
In fact, things could even be worse for the Tuscan outfit, were it not for the inspired form of overworked goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski, whose saves against Atalanta at the weekend prevented La Dea from turning the scoreline into a massacre.
Their outright player of the season so far, Poland international Dragowski was particularly active in Bergamo - twice repelling Duvan Zapata headers from point-blank range - but has had inadequate protection from his defensive colleagues this term.
After the visit of Sassuolo this week, with Juventus and in-form Verona still to come before Christmas, things may get worse before they can conceivably get better in Florence.
Fiorentina Serie A form: LDLLDL
Fiorentina form (all competitions): DLWLDL
Sassuolo Serie A form: WDWLDW
Sassuolo's much-missed forward Francesco Caputo will probably not be back before Christmas, while Lukas Haraslin was afforded a start last time but was red-carded, so ex-Chelsea winger Jeremie Boga should take his place. Vlad Chiriches, Filippo Romagna and Gregoire Defrel are all still out.
Versatile Serbia forward Filip Djuricic has not convinced since returning from a COVID-19 infection, so young Giacomo Raspadori may replace the former Benfica man up front in Roberto De Zerbi's preferred 4-2-3-1.
Cesare Prandelli took a radical approach in trying to arrest Fiorentina's slide down the table by benching star forwards Franck Ribery and Jose Callejon on Sunday, however their replacements were ineffective and the pair should return to the starting XI.
Creative midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli was limited to a substitute role by injury but could also slot back into the side if fully fit. However, full-back Cristiano Biraghi will most likely miss out with a muscle injury sustained against Benevento.
Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Caceres, Milenkovic, Pezzella, Barreca; Castrovilli, Amrabat, Bonaventura; Callejon, Vlahovic, Ribery
Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Toljan, Marlon, Ferrari, Rogerio; Obiang, Locatelli; Berardi, Bourabia, Boga; Raspadori
We say: Fiorentina 1-1 Sassuolo
Ambitious Sassuolo have stayed on the coat tails of Serie A's well-resourced big boys by taking care of business against the league's lesser lights.
Sadly for a one-time member of Serie A's 'Seven Sisters', Claudio Prandelli's current Fiorentina team can now be described as such - so the enterprising Neroverdi can take home at least a point ahead of a tough upcoming fixture list.