A rivalry that erupted in the 1980s, grew fiercer in the ’90s and that had a couple of new chapters written recently, resumes again when Fiorentina host Juventus at the Stadio Artemio Franchi (7.45pm BST, Tuesday, Sept 25).
Fiorentina supporters queued overnight to obtain tickets for the match against the team who, in their eyes, stole the league title in 1981/82 and Roberto Baggio in 1990. More recently they claim Juventus hijacked their move for Dimitar Berbatov, who eventually elected to join Fulham.
Fiorentina are said to be introducing an ‘anti-Juventus’ clause into the new contract of star forward Stevan Jovetic, barring him from joining the Turin giants even if they paid his buy-out clause (€40 million). The motto appears to be that if, in the future, he wishes to leave: let him, just not to Juventus.
Putting all historical and off-field matters aside, there remains the fact that Fiorentina have failed to beat Juventus in Florence for going on 14 years. Last season, Juventus really stuck the knife in, demolishing their hosts 5-0 as they began their inexorable march towards the league title.
The scorer of the solitary goal in that last Fiorentina victory, back in December 1998, was Gabriel Batistuta, a striker of whose ilk the current side would dearly love. The club’s pre-transfer deadline scramble for a striker eventually ended with the return of Luca Toni, now 35 and unlikely to repeat the 47 league goals of his first two year spell in Florence.
Toni did score on his debut, off the bench in the 2-0 win over Catania. Despite that he will be a bit part player, someone introduced to facilitate a more direct approach when the silky football that new coach Vincenzo Montella advocates fails to produce goals. What Montella really wanted was a striker like Berbatov: dangerous in the box, but also adept at linking play.
Without such a player, a lot of the onus to score falls onto Jovetic, who has responded well, scoring four times in Fiorentina’s four matches to date, but prefers to operate on the margins of the penalty area. In a team still adjusting to Montella’s tactics, there has rarely been another player bursting into the area in Jovetic’s absence, rendering their attack fairly one-dimensional.
Fiorentina, in many respects, evoke memories of last season’s Roma team under Luis Enrique. They hold possession well and pass intricately in midfield without always looking likely to produce a killer touch at the end of it. Still, it is early days, and there is time for Montella to get the balance right.
Juventus have long since mastered the delicate art of balance, combining defensive solidity, passing ability and incision in equal measure. A superb defensive record and potent attack has produced a 100% start to the league campaign, with 11 goals scored and just two conceded. That success is in the absence of the truly exceptional striker they searched for, to no avail, this summer.
The Old Lady has gone 43 league matches without defeat and currently looks infallible, even with head coach Antonio Conte unable to influence affairs during matches due to his 10-month ban for failing to report match fixing. New signing Kwando Asamoah has added additional penetration, bombing forward from left wing-back and proving three assists already this season.
Some questioned the quality of the Juventus squad ahead of the campaign, wondering how they would cope with the dual demands of European and domestic action. They competently passed the first such test, emerging as 2-0 victors over Chievo on Saturday with both goals coming courtesy of Fabio Quagliarella in his first start of the season.
There is a steely determination to this Juventus side that harkens back to the Marcelo Lippi days. They go onto the pitch believing a positive result is certain, give their all, and come off it usually having achieved their objection. The fight back from 2-0 down to 2-2 away to Chelsea in the Champions League last midweek epitomised the spirit and resolve of this team.
Fiorentina vs Juventus Betting Tips Verdict
With Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal likely to return to the centre of midfield and with no significant injury worries, Juventus are looking very strong coming into Tuesday’s match. It is difficult to see the chink in their armour that could give Fiorentina hope of finally ending their long winless streak against their Northern rivals.
- With this in mind, we would suggest backing Juventus to win @ 11/10 with Blue Square Bookmaker, Betfred or William Hill.
- Quagliarella is high on confidence following his double at the weekend and likely to maintain his place in the starting eleven. Therefore, bet on Fabio Quagliarella to score at anytime @ best odds of 21/10 with Bet365.