Thanks to a strange coincidence in league scheduling and the Coppa Italia draw, Inter play Fiorentina twice in practically the same week (before going on to play Juventus then Barcelona - Yikes). Fiorentina have been on the ropes a bit recently but they have been standing strong at home. Inter may be riding high on confidence right now, but the squad is also tired and are starting to pick up knocks here and there. Plus, no matter what they say, everyone is thinking about Barcelona and the big game to come. The challenge will be for the boys to keep their feet on the ground and their heads out of the clouds. We have three games before the Champions League game - lets take care of business at home first before swanning about Europe.
What: Fiorentina v Inter
Where: Stadio Artemio Franchi
When: Saturday, April 10, 8:45pm local time (11:45pm pacific, 2:45pm eastern)
How to watch: This puppy is live on Fox Soccer Channel or you can find a stream: MyP2P, Rojadirecta, Ustream, and ATDHE.net
As I think I have said before, Fiorentina are my second Italian team - my mistress if you will. As such, these are always trying fixtures for me. Dont get me wrong, I always go home with Inter, but there are definitely some sideways glances towards the purple side of the room. Last season, this game finished a rousing 0-0. As I recall, this was a pretty lousy game. Still, in the spirit of full disclosure, here are the highlights (man, did Mou have severe hair or what):
The Fiorentina board is active and populated by a fine bunch of writers and commentators (even if on of them roots for the stupid team that beat my poor Sounders last week). For a look at the game through purple tinted glasses - I suggest you stroll on over.
Prandelli has called up 19 players:
Bolatti, Comotto, De Silvestri, Donadel, Felipe, Frey, Gilardino, Gobbi, Jovetic, Keirrison, Kroldrup, Ljajic, Marchionni, Montolivo, Natali, Pasqual, Santana, Seculin, Zanetti.
As I am sure we all know, Mutu is suspended until who knows when. Gamberini and Avramov are injured, while Vargas will have to pass a late fitness test.
With 5 goals to the season so far, Vargas (or Mr. Smootchy as the SO calls him) is definitely a dangerous player. Still, between Jovetic and Gilardino there are 21 goals and even more to worry about. A quick look at ESPN's statistics shows they are most dangerous in the lats half hour of play. The tend to concede more in the first half, though, so if we can score a couple early in the game we may have a shot - even if they pull one back.
Much to the amazement of the general public today, Jose Mourinho, the squad, plus the coaching and medical staff all left from the Stazione Centrale this morning on their way to Florence.