Fiorentina’s European dream has started to fade away due to the dismal run of results, with Viola now in desperate need of a morale-boosting victory. Parma ended a five-match unbeaten run as they were defeated at home by Napoli, and il Ducali are set to face another very difficult task.
David Pizarro returns
Heavy summer spending instantly paid off for Fiorentina as the team enjoyed a bright start to the season, and they were even tipped to enter the title race at one stage. However, it appears that the short winter break disrupted team’s momentum, with Viola failing to win any of their five fixtures in 2013. Their performances in the New Year have not been that bad, but everybody could see that playmaker David Pizarro is being sorely missed. The Chilean had established himself as an extremely important member of the side at Artemio Franchi, so I am not all that surprised that the team have not been the same without him. Even if Vincenzo Montella’s side picked up just one point from last two league fixtures, they have shown a lot of promise in clashes with Napoli and Catania, and with David Pizarro finally recovering from injury, they look a good bet to return to winning ways at home against Parma.
Mounir El Hamdaoui is back from Africa Cup of Nations, but Alberto Aquilani is suspended and Giuseppe Rossi, Matias Fernandez and Ahmed Hegazy are injured.
Problems on the road
While they were considered one of Italy’s top clubs during the 90s, Parma suffered a major downtrend in fortunes at the beginning of the new millennium and spent several years fighting for Serie A survival. The club chiefs have since managed to help the team establish themselves as a genuine top table side, and il Ducali have been showing a lo of promise this season as well. Boasting a pretty good squad and talented manager Roberto Donadoni, Parma started the season well and immediately showed they have what it takes to avoid the relegation tussle. While impressing at their Ennio Tardini, il Ducali have been pretty poor on the road, with 2-3-6 away record there to prove it. The team also stayed without a very important defender Cristian Zaccardo, who was granted his wish to join AC Milan, while they only signed several average players in the January transfer window.
New signing Djamel Mesbah has yet to join the squad after returning from Africa Cup of Nations, while Daniele Galloppa and Fabiano Santacrocce miss out through injury.
Fiorentina have been thoroughly impressive at their Artemio Franchi this season, and with key midfielder David Pizarro finally returning, they should be able to record the first win in 2013. Parma look weaker than few weeks ago and given that they rarely bring points from the travels, home win looks a good bet here.
Top pick: Home win 1.80 (4/5) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Fiorentina to score two or more 1.85 (17/20) @ Sportingbet
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.00 (1/1) @ Coral