Hassan Chamas

What: Italian Serie A
Who: ACF Fiorentina (9th; 24 points) vs AC Milan (2nd; 31 points)
When: Saturday 19th December, 2009, at 20:45 CET
Where: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy


Despite being one of the spectacular Italian sides this season, it doesn’t need much brainstorming to deduce that Fiorentina are plunging into some sort of a crisis at the moment. Five losses in the last eight Serie A games has meant that the Viola have dropped all the way down to ninth. What is also intriguing is the club’s paradoxical Champions League form, as they defied all odds by defeating Liverpool twice in the group stages and subsequently earning themselves top spot in their group.

Going into the match against Chievo last weekend, the hosts surprised Cesare Prandelli’s team courtesy of Giampiero Pinzi and Gennaro Sardo, although Fiorentina drew first blood through a fifth-minute opener courtesy of Ricardo Montolivo. Now, The Lilies will be hoping to dwell on Milan’s surprising defeat last weekend in order to get their Serie A run back on track.

We Stop Here

It had to end at some point, but few, if any, predicted that it would be Palermo who would halt AC Milan’s admirable resurgence, with Il Diavoli heading into the game knowing that the last time they failed to pick up league points was back in September.

Fabrizio Miccoli’s brilliance might have won it on that occasion for Palermo, but the Sicilians took more than a mere three points from Milan, as they showed that, despite the wonderful form of Ronaldinho, and despite the outstanding partnership of Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva, and despite Alexandre Pato’s pure genius, Milan remain an ageing and tired club.

On a brighter note, coach Leonardo will no doubt be pleased with the reports that Gennaro Gattuso and Thiago Silva received the all-clear following their respective injuries. Gattuso has only recently extended his Milan deal, and will be eager to show his worth, while Silva has adapted so well in the centre of defence alongside Nesta and will be no doubt most welcome after Giuseppe Favalli’s nightmarish display last weekend.



Recent form

Fiorentina 2-0 Atalanta (Serie A)
Liverpool 1-2 Fiorentina (Champions League)
Chievo 2-1 Fiorentina (Serie A)

AC Milan:
Milan 3-0 Sampdoria (Serie A)
FC Zurich 1-1 Milan (Champions League)
Milan 0-2 Palermo (Serie A)

Key absences

Fiorentina: Adrian Mutu (doubt); Alessandro Gamberini (doubt); Stevan Jovetic (doubt); Marco Marchionni (doubt); Sebastien Frey

AC Milan: Thiago Silva (doubt); Gennaro Gattuso (doubt); Daniele Bonera; Oguchi Onyewu

Players to watch

Fiorentina – Alberto Gilardino: This will be a special match for Gilardinho as he goes into the bout with revenge on his mind after a bitter spell with the Rossoneri. The Italian is Fiorentina’s leading goalscorer in all competitions and could very well be a threat for a crippled Milan defence.

AC Milan – Ronaldinho: Ronaldinho declared this week that he was back to his best, and his showings in recent weeks were indications that the Brazilian is not lying. Should Milan come up with all three points, expect him to be at the centre of things.

Match prediction

Both teams come into this fixture on the back of unexpected defeats. However, the fact that Fiorentina has lost five out of their last eight games doesn’t look good for a team that looked like Italy’s best continental representative this season. Milan are not in perfect shape either though and the loss to Palermo did its damage to the Scudetto hopefuls. Both teams are likely to cancel themselves out and a 2-2 draw looks likely.


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