Both Fiorentina and Napoli will be seeking to rebound after Europa League disappointment as they clash at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Monday.
Although the Viola and the Partenopei made an impressive run in last season’s edition – to the tune of all the way to the semi-finals – it was not meant to be for these two Italian sides as they were dumped out by high-flying sides Tottenham and Villarreal respectively. Still, there will not be time to mope too much about their continental disappointment as there are still plenty of matches remaining in Serie A as both sides hope to achieve their specific objectives for their domestic campaigns.
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For Fiorentina, who were once on top of the league table, the Scudetto train appears to have passed them by; however, third place and a shot at Champions League football are definitely up for grabs. With Roma having earned a sixth consecutive win this past Saturday, Paulo Sousa’s side – who are only missing Yohan Benalouane and the suspended Mauro Zarate for this match – will want to make it a a seventh straight Serie A game without a loss. The last time the hosts were defeated was back on January 17th, when they suffered a 2-0 reversal against AC Milan, and they will be coming into Monday’s match having beaten Inter 2-1.
With just one point separating them from the Giallorossi, the Viola will be keen on keeping the capital club within their sights as they hope to make it a sixth win in their last seven home matches tomorrow evening. Having scored at least two goals in all but one of their past eight games at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Fiorentina will nonetheless face a tougher task against Napoli, who, after the Bianconeri, have the second-best defensive outfit in the league. And after four games sans a win across all competitions, Maurizio Sarri’s troops will be desperate to turn things around as they will need to make sure that current league leaders Juventus stay within their sights.
Having suffered two wins and two draws in their past quarter of games, Sarri will also hope that his top marksman, Gonzalo Higuain, will find his shooting boots quickly. The Argentinian attacker, who has accumulated an impressive 24 goals in the league thus far has not found the back of the next since netting a second-half penalty in the team’s 1-0 over Serie A debutants Carpi; coincidentally, that also so happened to be the last time the Partenopei picked up a win back on February 7th.
With losses in just two out of their last 25 Serie A matches and a 100 per cent win record against Fiorentina from their last four meetings across all competitions, Napoli will be gunning to get back on track after difficult past few weeks as the Scudetto represents now their only chance to potentially lift any kind of silverware this season.
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