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Why resurgent Fiorentina could be Serie A’s next title challengers

Viola are targeting European football next term

Off the field, the past six weeks have been incredibly tough for the fans and players of Fiorentina – following the tragic passing of club captain Davide Astori. But on the pitch, they’re on the way to being one of Serie A’s strongest sides.

No side can match Viola for form at present. Stefano Pioli’s men have won six games on the spin, conceding a single goal in the process.

With sixth-placed Fiorentina now just two points outside the European spots, the Coral News Team look at why they could be genuine title challengers next term…

Superb backline and a working system

The backbone of Fiorentina’s recent success lies in one of the league’s most well-balanced centre-back pairings.

A bit-part player for much of the season, Vitor Hugo has taken over a regular role, and quickly built a strong understanding with German Pezzella. The pair are both powerful and robust players, with an intelligent reading of the game.

They’ve left the creative parts of the game to the men on the flanks – namely left-back Cristiano Biraghi. He’s bagged three assists this term and netted the winner against Chievo Verona which started the current winning run.

Part of their impressive defensive record has coincided with a shift from the 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 systems they’ve played for much of the campaign to a current 4-3-2-1 with two holding midfielders.

They’re a match for any of the European pack

The main issue for Viola over much of this campaign has been consistency. The points they have dropped have often been against the league’s lesser lights. Two of their nine league losses in 31 games have come at the hands of sides currently in the relegation zone.

When it comes to games against the current top five, it’s been a different story. Saturday saw them breeze to a 2-0 win away at AS Roma. The same Roma side who then put three goals past Barcelona without reply, in midweek.

Away from home, they’ve also taken points off Lazio and Napoli. Meanwhile, neither Milan club have taken more than a point at Stadio Artemio Franchi for more than four years.

With form very much on their side, the upcoming home games against Lazio and Napoli – both before the end of April – should prove a good test of Fiorentina’s credentials ahead of next season

Experienced Pioli knows this league inside out

Pioli may not have the honours list of Max Allegri or Luciano Spalletti, but his wealth of experience could prove crucial if Viola are pushing for the top spots next term.

There’s no doubt the 52-year-old has the mentality needed to help challenge for major silverware, having been a trusted member of the Juventus side who lifted Serie A and European Cup titles in the mid-1980s.

He also enjoyed modest success as boss of Lazio from 2014-16, before a brief stint at Inter Milan. That means few in Serie A will have as good a handle on how to topple their rivals than the well-travelled coach.

Next up for the Florence outfit is Sunday’s meeting with lowly SPAL. It’s 1/2 for a Fiorentina victory, while young Viola striker Giovanni Simeone is 13/10 to Score Anytime for the fourth game in succession.

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