Early Serie A kick-off will see high-flying Fiorentina attempt to record their third victory of the campaign against mid table Cagliari side. Isolani arrive at Artemio Franchi hoping to show some improvement on the 3-1 defeat at San Siro, but that is clearly easier said than done.
Back on track
Fiorentina’s last season showings and a narrow miss on the final Champions League berth hinted that Viola are ready to return to the top of Italian football, and the club have done well to live up to the expectations. Summer recruitment saw the Artemio Franchi outfit sign the likes of Mario Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Massimo Ambrosini and Joaquin, among others, while completing a permanent move for Juan Cuadrado, one of Serie A’s in-form players. Even with Stevan Jovetic and Adam Ljajic leaving, Viola had no problems picking up where they left off, recording back to back victories over Catania and Genoa in the league, while making it to Europa League group stages in spite of the home defeat to Grasshoppers. The 5-2 triumph in Genoa was enough to suggest Fiorentina have returned to the right track, with summer signing Mario Gomez and injury-plagued Giuseppe Rossi proving they have established a marvellous partnership up front. Next up is Cagliari at home, and while Isolani are no pushovers, the outcome of this match clearly depends on the hosts. Seeing as how they usually break their opponents early on to avoid any surprises, chances are Viola will be at least a goal up by half-time break.
Ahmed Hegazy continues to miss out, whilst Juan Cuadrado, Manuel Pasqual and Stefan Savic all face fitness tests.
Unable to match top sides on the road
Even if last season proved to be pretty tumultuous for Isolani, they ended up securing their Serie A status without too many problems, finishing the league campaign in 11th place. And while the inability to play at their Is Arenas ended up costing the team quite a few points at home, they did pretty well on the travels, picking up no less than 19 points from as many fixtures. However, while they shocked Roma at Stadio Olimpico, Cagliari were unable to match Italy’s top sides on the road, which is enough to suggest they will face all sorts of problems against red-hot Fiorentina. This season started well for Isolani as they recorded a home victory over Atalanta, but there was nothing they could do to prevent the 3-1 defeat to Milan at San Siro. There’s no denying that only minor changes to the playing squad will keep the team in good stead for another assault on top table finish, but it does seem as though they have done nothing to try and close the gap behind league’s top sides. Seeing as how Cagliari are not exactly on top of their game at the moment, I just don’t see how they are going to prevent in-form Viola from extending their winning run.
Andrea Cossu has recovered from injury, while key defender Davide Astori could finally make his first appearance of the season.
Fiorentina have a habit of breaking their opponents early on at their Artemio Franchi, and the emphatic manner of the 5-2 triumph at Genoa is enough to suggest Viola have already hit the ground running. Having failed to come even close to avoiding defeat at San Siro, I seriously doubt Cagliari can fare any better at Artemio Franchi.
Top pick: Home/Home 2.15 (23/20) @ Coral
Alternative pick 1: Home win + over 2.5 goals 2.20 (6/5) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Mario Gomez to score 1.85 (17/20) @ Unibet
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