Serie A Preview: Fiorentina vs Inter

Claudio Villa

The Nerazzurri look to make it two wins in a row when they travel to Florence to lock horns with the Viola…

The old proverb that states the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' rings true with Fiorentina. The Viola faithful just might loathe Juventus more than we do, but on Saturday our mutual animosity towards the Bianconeri will be redirected at each other for 90 minutes.

I have nothing against Fiorentina; I really like its owners, especially when they troll Juve, and I hope Vincenzo Montella's men close out the Serie A season with a victory in every game… starting after this one.

Not just because a win would trim the Viola's lead to a manageable five points over Inter in the Serie A standings, but because I can't shake the feeling that the Nerazzurri's project under Walter Mazzarri might be on the verge of collapsing.

The Beneamata manager is not on the same wavelength with owner Erick Thohir as one look at Mazzarri's recent starting lineups clearly indicate. Thohir wants an injection of youth in the first XI while Mazzarri prefers to rely on experienced old hands.

Thohir did not sit down and interview Mazzarri before hiring him, he was chosen by predecessor Massimo Moratti. It seems like something has to give soon, and if the losses keep piling up then surely it will.

That's why a win over a bona fide contender on the road would be most welcome. It would be a sure fire sign that things are moving in the right direction.

The 1-0 victory over Sassuolo was not of the convincing variety by any means, it served one purpose and that was the three points. That's it.

The hope is that the Hernanes signing will provide a spark and it did last weekend at San Siro, but now comes a much bigger test.

A win in Tuscany would remind the Calcio world that this Inter squad is very much still alive and kicking while a loss will heap more pressure on a coach who looks like he's reached his boiling point.

Saturday's clash is must-watch tv ladies and gents…

THE VITALS

Date: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

Time: 2:45 ET

Venue: Artemio Franchi

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Handanovic; Rolando, Samuel, Juan Jesus; D'Ambrosio, Guarin, Kuzmanovic, Hernanes, Nagatomo; Milito, Palacio

Fiorentina Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Neto; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Compper; Cuadrado, Anderson, Pizarro, Mati Fernandez, Vargas; Ilicic; Matri

Unavailable For Duty: Esteban Cambiasso is still nursing a thigh injury while Ricky Alvarez strained his hamstring and will also miss the festivities in Tuscany.

Operation Tuscan Deep Dish Pan Pizza:
The objective is to venture down into enemy territory and spring a surprise in the dead of night using our new foreign enemy operative as the architect of the attack.

Enemy Of The State: With Borja Valero thankfully suspended Walter Samuel and company need to focus their energies on slowing down Josip Ilicic. The Slovenian attacker has made only six Serie A starts this season but has two goals to show for his efforts with both coming in his last three outings.

Fear Factor: 7.5: Fiorentina is as frightening as the little band you started listening to after seeing their live show and decided to keep tabs on because they were trying to accomplish the same thing as your group, only to see them again six months later and discovering that they're now the better, tighter outfit.

Medal Of Honor: Hernanes made a valuable contribution on the battlefield in his first appearance for Inter. He missed one clear cut opportunity but oozed class for most of the contest. We need more of the same from the Brazilian this weekend.

If Inter Wins: I will gleefully crack open a Liefmans Goudenband that is looking for a soulmate other than the baking soda in my refrigerator.

If Inter Loses: I will sit down and write the outline of my "Why Walter Zenga is the Right Choice for Inter' editorial.

Likely Outcome: I can't see us taking all three points unless Kuzmanovic decides to have the game of his life against his old club and we all know that's not happening. A draw would be nice and I think it's actually plausible with Fiorentina missing some key players upfront. A part of me thinks that Inter is going to pull this one out and start a big run, but it's the deluded, illogical part that only rears its head in regards to Inter, Michigan and booze cruises in tropical locales.

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