clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know your enemy: A Q&A session with SB Nation's Fiorentina blog, Viola Nation

We had questions for Viola Nation, so we asked them.

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

The hype machine is already spinning, with Juventus and Fiorentina's showdown in Turin less than two days away from going down this weekend.

But what do we truly know about Juve's opponent on Sunday? That's where the help comes into effect.

We've exchanged questions with a man simply known as 'The Tito' around the Viola Nation corner of the internet. If you want to read what they asked me, click on this link right here and see what stupid things I had to say about Juventus. (Answers might not be as stupid as advertised.) Enjoy his answers, because we've spent hours upon hours researching things to make sure we get them right.

BWRAO: Greetings, Tito. Let's jump right into things! It was obviously a summer of change on the Fiorentina sideline. Because of that, how much of a surprise is it that they've gotten off to such a good start in Serie A this season?

VN: I can safely say that pretty much nobody saw this coming in the summer. Losing an iconic and (for Italy) long-tenured manager was bound to sting, but turning over a bunch of key players--Savic, Neto, Joaquin, Pizarro, Aquilani, Gomez, Gilardino--had everyone pretty nervous, especially since the replacements were all pretty unheralded. I think that after the Inter game, everyone realized that hey, this is a pretty darn good team, and Paulo Sousa is a really good tactician. I think he's the biggest surprise, and the biggest reason for the unexpected success. He's built on Montella's lovely, albeit sterile, possession game, adding a certain ruthlessness that was entirely lacking before.

BWRAO: If there is a weakness in this Fiorentina team that Juventus could take advantage of, what might it be? (And can you let Max Allegri know?)

VN: Hahaha no weaknesses anywhere none whatsoever everything is great and perfect. Now that we've hopefully scared Max away, I'd say the biggest weakness is in the wide areas, where attacking fullbacks can overrun the Fiorentina wingbacks in conjunction with wingers who hug the touchlines. That's the major problem with the 3-4-2-1, so it's sort of a structural issue, but quick attacks with width have continued to be a problem; see the Napoli and Roma games. Fiorentina has also been susceptible to good, disciplined pressing from the forwards and tight marking in the midfield, forcing the centerbacks to lump the ball downfield.

BWRAO: Fiorentina leads Serie A in goals scored. Juventus once again has one of the best defenses in Serie A. What do you think Fiorentina needs to do to crack Juve's improving defense?

VN: I think unpredictability is the key to Fiorentina's success. Josip Ilicic is a dribbler, a direct runner who likes to shoot from distance with his left and who occasionally produces brilliant moment. Borja Valero is a tireless and clever passer. Nikola Kalinic is the key, though. He's got enough pace to spin in behind and enough strength to hold up play. He's excellent at winning free kicks with excellent body positioning (he's actually not a complete diver, which is astonishing considering how often he's fouled), and has that striker's knack of being in the right place in the right time to score tap-ins. With Federico Bernardeschi's chaotic dribbling on the right and Marcos Alonso's dangerous crossing from the left, Fiorentina can beat a defense in a lot of different ways. They don't have any world-class attackers, but do have lots of useful pieces that work well as a diverse collective.

BWRAO: Who on the Juventus roster scares you the most?

VN: Juan Cuadrado scares me most, because Fiorentina's exes always seem to score against them. Other than that, man, take your pick. I guess Paulo Dybala is genuinely terrifying given his form, and Paul Pogba always seems like a good bet to produce a magic moment, especially pressing in the middle.

BWRAO: Juventus played in Europe on Tuesday night. Fiorentina played in Europe on Thursday night. Is there any kind of concern or worry about the incredibly quick turnaround for Fiorentina entering such a big game?

VN: Not too concerned about the turnaround, because Sousa rotated the squad pretty heavily on Thursday, so the first XI should be good to go from minute one. What happens after that is anyone's guess.