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Oct 24, 2021 at 2pm UK
Biraghi (21' pen.), Gonzalez (42'), Vlahovic (49')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Balde (20'), Marin (48')

Preview: Fiorentina vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fiorentina vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Fiorentina and Cagliari, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With their fine start to Serie A now ended by a run of three defeats from four, Fiorentina welcome Cagliari to Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday afternoon.

Successive losses for the Viola have seen them slip to ninth in the standings, while their Sardinian visitors were able to climb off the foot of the table last weekend, with a first win of the season at the eighth time of trying.

Match preview

October has so far been a miserable month for Fiorentina, who have lost both of their league fixtures either side of the international break and also broke the news that star striker Dusan Vlahovic had rejected a contract offer, clearing the path for him to leave for pastures new next year.

The second of those losses will have caused most anguish for the Viola, since it came versus lowly Venezia - only promoted back to the top flight in May following two decades away.

Vincenzo Italiano's side were unable to respond to a Mattia Aramu strike during the first half at Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, so fell to another defeat, following a 2-1 reverse at Napoli a fortnight before.

Therefore, Fiorentina have slipped back into the mid-table pack, and approach the visit of Cagliari having also lost their last two Serie A home fixtures. The last time the Tuscan outfit lost three league games in a row at the Franchi was back in 2005, when the legendary Dino Zoff was in charge.

Furthermore, they have not fared too well at home to the Isolani in recent years, as after 16 home wins in a row against Cagliari between 1982 and 2010, the Viola have only managed to add three victories in the clubs' last nine meetings in Florence.

Having started the 2021-22 campaign in terrible form, Cagliari finally gave their long-suffering fans something to cheer last Sunday, when they recorded a first Serie A success of the season.

Despite a late scare when Sampdoria pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go, captain Joao Pedro stepped up in typical style to steer the hosts towards maximum points with his second strike of the game during stoppage time.

The Brazilian has woven a place for himself in Rossoblu folklore over recent years, as he has fought an almost single-handed battle to keep them afloat in the top flight at times, and that brace represented his fifth and six league goals so far this term.

Appointed after just three games of the season, head coach Walter Mazzarri has been tasked with the tough job of moving the Sardinian club away from the relegation zone. Taking a first step by moving off the bottom of the table - at Salernitana's expense - should provide a psychological boost heading into a packed period of four games in the next fortnight.

While they have managed a respectable tally of 11 goals themselves, Cagliari have conceded at least twice in each of their last three away games (eight in total), so Mazzarri must now engender some improvement in his team's notoriously leaky back line if they are to continue climbing the table.

Fiorentina Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Cagliari Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News

Fiorentina's preparations were disrupted by news they will now be without midfielder Erick Pulgar until December, after he sustained an ankle injury during training in midweek.

The Chilean joins goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski on the sidelines, following confirmation that a muscular injury suffered against Napoli - which caused him to leave the field in tears - will also keep the Polish stopper out for a similar period of time. Therefore, Pietro Terracciano continues as the home side's last line of defence.

Vincenzo Italiano still has several options available up front, and while Dusan Vlahovic - who already has three Serie A goals against Cagliari, including his first-ever strike in the competition back in November 2019 - is a certainty to start, two supporting roles remain up for grabs.

Jose Callejon and Nicolas Gonzalez are likeliest to feature as part of the front three, with Riccardo Sottil suspended due to his dismissal for a second bookable offence on Monday.

The away side, meanwhile, are set to be without Dalbert, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Marko Rog and Paolo Farago on Sunday, as they seek to pick up a first win on the mainland this term.

Cagliari could shift the versatile former Fiorentina defender Martin Caceres to left-back, allowing Gabriele Zappa to come into the XI and Charalampos Lykogiannis to occupy Dalbert's usual spot on the left flank.

Once again, Walter Mazzarri's favoured duo of Joao Pedro and Keita Balde start up front.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Terracciano; Odriozola, Milenkovic, Quarta, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Duncan; Callejon, Vlahovic, Gonzalez

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Cragno; Zappa, Godin, Carboni, Caceres; Nandez, Marin, Strootman, Lykogiannis; Pedro, Balde

We say: Fiorentina 3-1 Cagliari

Though the visitors have proven they can score on a regular basis, keeping the back door shut has been a perennial problem for Cagliari, which will allow Fiorentina's gifted forwards to walk right through.

The Viola are likely to hit the net more than once on Sunday, and can revive an opening half of the season which is in danger of falling flat due to recent reverses.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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