02 December 2006

Fiorentina - Lazio preview

Fiorentina (5 pts, 18th place)
Lazio (18 pts, 7th place)
15:00 CET (9:00 AM EDT) Sun, Dec 3
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze

US TV: RAI International (live)

Lazio will face a difficult match on the road at Fiorentina this Sunday. La Viola have only scored 5 points in their as many matches, but the numbers may be deceiving. Two of their most recent losses were to Palermo and Roma merda, who are among the lead pack of the classifica. Fiorentina's low spot on the table also doesn't portray them accurately. Since they were the only team of the original four penalized teams to not receive a lessening of their punishment, they have stayed at the bottom of the table while Lazio and Milan have moved up. In fact Fiorentina, starting at -15, have earned 20 points while Lazio, starting -3, have earned 21. The clubs should be nearly evenly matched, with the home stadium advantage tipping the balance toward Fiorentina.

One area of play in which the two squads will not be evenly matched is central midfield. This will be the first time that former biancocelesti captain Fabio Liverani will play against his old squad. Speaking to the media earlier this week, he talked about why he left and how he will deal with Sunday's match:
Sarà un'emozione forte, anche se non sarà come giocare a Roma. A Roma ho fatto cinque anni importanti della mia carriera, sono andato via perché non ero in sintonia con il presidente Lotito. Non sentivo da parte della società la fiducia di cui avevo bisogno. Mi auguro di essere il più lucido possibile in campo. Non posso permettermi di lasciare spazio ai sentimenti.
"It will be a difficult feeling, and it will not be like playing in Rome. In Rome I played five important years of my career, but I left because I wasn't in agreement with president Lotito. I didn't feel confident that they needed me as part of the club. I hope to be as clear-headed as possible on the pitch. I can't allow myself to leave room for emotions."

Lazio can't allow itself room for emotions either. Fortunately they will be starting one of their strongest lineups. The only regular starter who will not be on the pitch is Stefano Mauri (serving a one-game disqualification) but he will be replaced by Pasquale Foggia, who excelled in the trequartista position in the first match that Rossi used the 4-3-1-2. The defense is all healthy and out of trouble, and the only question there is which two out of three Rossi will pick from among Stendardo, Siviglia, and Cribari. The lineup should look very much like:


Lazio will do quite well, but I can't be too confident of three points. Prediction: Fiorentina 2-2 Lazio.

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