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Dec 11, 2021 at 2pm UK
Bonaventura (31'), Vlahovic (51', 84'), Maleh (90')
Milenkovic (11')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Kastanos (20')

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

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

Seeking to establish themselves as genuine European contenders with a fourth win from five, Fiorentina welcome rock-bottom Salernitana to Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday afternoon.

While the vibrant Viola won at Bologna last weekend, their southern counterparts were beaten once again amid a tricky run of fixtures, and are now four points from Serie A safety.

Match preview

Having previously lost four on the bounce outside their iconic headquarters, Fiorentina withstood a Bologna comeback last weekend to claim all three points at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara: Cristiano Biraghi curling home a delightful free-kick before Dusan Vlahovic converted a penalty to seal a 3-2 win.

The Viola's first away win since September not only lifts them above the Rome clubs into sixth, it continues the resurgent side's charge towards the European places as the season reaches its halfway stage.

Indeed, their haul takes the Tuscan outfit to a tally of 27 points from 16 games, representing the club's best start since 2016-17, when they ultimately finished fifth under the guidance of Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa.

One of his numerous predecessors, Vincenzo Italiano, has made an immediate impact since taking over the Fiorentina reigns during the summer, and an attractive team have already beaten Milan and Atalanta among their nine league wins. Not only that, but they have come out on top at the Franchi in their four most recent home games, scoring at least three times on each occasion.

However, the Viola remain a particularly mercurial proposition, and are yet to draw a single game: becoming only the third side to either win or lose each of their first 16 Serie A fixtures across the last 50 years.

Nevertheless, after an excellent opportunity to extend their successful streak at the expense of Salernitana, upwardly mobile Fiorentina face matches against Sassuolo and Verona before the winter break, so could feasibly improve their position in the coming weeks.

Though a change is supposedly as good as a rest, Salernitana have fared almost equally as badly under current coach Stefano Colantuono as they did when Fabrizio Castori was the man in charge, and remain rooted to the foot of the Serie A standings.

In eight matches each, the two tacticians have recorded just one draw and a win, and both accumulated a -11 goal difference during their respective spells.

The Granata's 12th league defeat of the campaign arrived, as expected, at the hands of Scudetto contenders Milan last Saturday, when they were two goals down by the 20th minute, but did at least hang on to record a relatively respectable 2-0 defeat.

Having previously lost by the same scoreline to Juventus - and been beaten by Lazio and Napoli since the end of October - Colantuono can at least claim that the fixture list has not been on his side, and a trip to Tuscany will now fill his squad with more fear than hope of just a second away win since earning promotion.

Still conceding goals at a rate of over two per game, the Granata will have a break from the rigours of top-flight football when they journey to Genoa for a Coppa Italia tie next week - their third successive game on the road - but would gladly take even a point home from the Franchi before turning their attentions to the cup.

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

Salernitana Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Vincenzo Italiano could have Italy midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli back at his disposal on Saturday, adding to the Fiorentina coach's options in the middle of the park.

Youssef Maleh scored on a rare start last weekend, while Erick Pulgar was back on the bench having fully recovered from an ankle injury, so that trio will fight it out with Giacomo Bonaventura, Alfred Duncan and Lucas Torreira for three places in the hosts' engine room.

Centre-back Matija Nastasic is set to be sidelined once again, but goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski is closing in on a comeback from a long injury layoff. Nonetheless, Pietro Terracciano still starts between the posts.

Having scored 30 Serie A goals in 2021 - in the last 60 years only two players have posted more in a calendar year (Cristiano Ronaldo and ex-Viola star Luca Toni) - the league's November 'Player of the Month' and current capocannoniere leader, Dusan Vlahovic, features up front.

One of the Serbian striker's former colleagues, Franck Ribery, featured 50 times for Fiorentina over the past couple of years, and returns to Florence as Salernitana's best hope of creating the chances required to cause an upset.

However, the Frenchman's fellow forward Milan Djuric has been forced into self-isolation as a direct contact of a COVID-19 case, so joins a long list of men who may be unavailable to Stefano Colantuono at the Franchi.

Mamadou Coulibaly, Cedric Gondo, Matteo Ruggeri and Nadir Zortea are all struggling with various injuries, and centre-back Stefan Strandberg has only just started his recovery from a muscular problem.

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

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Belec; Veseli, Gyomber, Bogdan, Ranieri; Kechrida, Di Tacchio, L. Coulibaly, Kastanos; Ribery; Simy

We say: Fiorentina 4-1 Salernitana

The contrasting combination of Fiorentina's relentless attack and Salernitana's inability to defend suggests only one outcome in the Tuscan capital, as the hosts should hit the net multiple times.

Though old warrior Franck Ribery will be determined to shine again on the Florentine stage, his lesser-known teammates are finding the adaptation to life in the elite a little too hot to handle.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data

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