Fiorentina VS Juventus - Match Preview

Posted Sun, 25 Apr 2021 09:31:21 GMT        

Match Time:4/25/2021 21:00 Sunday  (GMT+8)

Italian Serie A --  Fiorentina   VS   Juventus

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Having ridden out controversy surrounding their president's role in attempting to re-shape the future of football, Juventus meet Fiorentina on Sunday, with their top-four place still in some jeopardy.


Juve's involvement in the ill-fated European Super League overshadowed their midweek win over Parma, while this weekend's hosts picked up a precious three points of their own through just a third away win of the season.


Match preview

When the unheralded Gaston Brugman gave relegation-bound Parma a shock lead against Juventus with a superb free-kick in midweek, fears of a major upset rose for the under-fire Bianconeri.


However, an unlikely Alex Sandro brace helped the outgoing champions to turn the game around either side of the break, as Juve ultimately ran out 3-1 winners against the lowly Emilian outfit, amid a backdrop of chaos and fury emanating from the European Super League fiasco.


Club president Andrea Agnelli has drawn the ire of fans around the continent this week, as some of his players and - most notably - his manager Andrea Pirlo were among the minority to come out in the former ECA chairman's defence.


Pirlo - rumoured to be in danger of being removed from his position in the post-season - declared that "something has to be changed" in European competition level and that the idea proposed by Agnelli and his co-conspirators was a fundamentally sound one.


With the future still uncertain for both men, on-field events have taken a troubled turn too, as Juve's qualification for next season's Champions League is ironically in serious peril - as Napoli and Lazio continue to lurk close behind Pirlo's fourth-placed side.


The Coppa Italia finalists have now won just three of their last six league games after crashing out of Europe against Porto, so will be desperate to avoid anything like a repeat of December's disastrous 3-0 reverse to Fiorentina on this occasion.


That spectacular success aside, high points have been few and far between this term for the Viola, as they went into the midweek round of fixtures only five points clear of 18th-placed Cagliari following a run of three defeats in four.


Fiorentina held onto a potentially vital victory away to Hellas Verona on Tuesday though, which could prove a decisive move in their quest to avoid the drop down to Serie B.


After scoring either side of the break - through top scorer Dusan Vlahovic's penalty and a rare Martin Caceres goal - Eddie Salcedo's header subsequently got Hellas back into the game. However, despite giving up nearly two-thirds of possession, Beppe Iachini's side hung on for maximum points - taking them into 13th, but with safety yet to be assured.


In all, Fiorentina have won only two of their last ten league games under Iachini - who returned to the dugout following former coach Cesare Prandelli's unexpectedly early departure last month - and the team are still in search of their first consecutive victories this season, with just a handful of games left to play.


To post their first back-to-back wins of 2020-21 this weekend, the Tuscan side must complete a Serie A double over Juventus for the first time since 1968-69.


Furthermore, Fiorentina have failed to score in their last three home matches against the Bianconeri, so will rely on 16-goal striker Vlahovic - who has now netted seven and laid on two in his last six matches - to help them achieve such a feat this time around.


Fiorentina Serie A form: WLDLLW


Juventus Serie A form: LDWWLW


Team News

While both top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and winger Federico Bernardeschi - who returned from a spell in quarantine with COVID-19 - were able to feature in midweek and will be involved again on Sunday, young forward Federico Chiesa is struggling to overcome a thigh problem and remains a serious doubt for Juventus.


Defender Merih Demiral is also a concern for Andrea Pirlo, though all of his other central-defensive options are back fit following a continuous spell of absences in that department.


Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata will continue their duel for the second striker's spot, while Juan Cuadrado is favourite to deputise for Chiesa on the right of midfield. Meanwhile, Adrien Rabiot may replace Arthur in the centre after only featuring as a substitute against Parma.


In addition to doing without January signing Aleksandr Kokorin - set to miss out again for Fiorentina with a thigh strain - and veteran midfielder Borja Valero (also thigh), Beppe Iachini must re-shuffle his engine room, as Giacomo Bonaventura serves a suspension.


Despite his struggles in the second half of the campaign, Gaetano Castrovilli should come back into the midfield three as cover for Bonaventura, while main man Dusan Vlahovic should be supported by 38-year-old Franck Ribery up front, even if the elusive French forward has already started twice in the past week.


Fiorentina possible starting lineup:

Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Caceres, Amrabat, Pulgar, Bonaventura, Biraghi; Vlahovic, Ribery


Juventus possible starting lineup:

Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Rabiot, Ramsey; Dybala, Ronaldo


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Fiorentina VS Juventus - Match Preview