Fiorentina v Genoa – Stadio Artemio Franchi at 19:30 GMT+1
Serie A comes to a conclusion this weekend with European qualification places and the final relegation berth still to be decided. The battle of the bottom is particularly intriguing and delicately poised, especially with Fiorentina and Genoa locking horns as they scrap for survival.
Empoli’s recent resurgence has lifted them outside of the bottom-three but they remain only a solitary point ahead of Genoa. The latter now end their season at Fiorentina, who have not won a game since 17th February, and who have lost five out of six league matches since bringing back Vincenzo Montella as manager.
The Viola themselves are not safe – an extraordinary situation when one considers the quality of football they displayed during the first part of this season. Genoa would move ahead of them with a victory by at least two goals. Indeed, there’s still a scenario that could see Fiorentina relegated.
Viola in a mess under Montella
Fiorentina fans announced the suspension of protests, in a bid to get behind the team in Sunday’s showdown. The Tuscans have failed to win any of their last 15 matches between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, and their fans have run out of patience with the Della Valle Family ownership, calling for them to sell the club.
The Viola ultras have been sitting in silence for the entire first half or even boycotting games entirely as part of their campaign against the hierarchy. However, realising the seriousness of the situation after a 1-0 defeat to Parma last time out, the hardcore supporters took action.
Head coach Montella was furious with the referee after the side’s 1-0 defeat to Parma, but confessed his own players wasted chances. Montella was sent off from the touchline for his protests, then punched an advertising backdrop as he stormed off, not realising there was a steward behind it. He’ll now be banned from the touchline for this vital encounter.
The returning boss was asked why he had left Luis Muriel on the bench and started Giovanni Simeone; after a promising start without positive results, the team has looked incohesive of late and there’s a very real chance they could fall flat in the match that matters.
Fiorentina have won just four Serie A games since the start of October (W4-D15-L10), scored one goal over their last 10-and-a-half hours worth of action and recorded only five shutouts in their last 29 tussles. Such trends suggest there’s value in opposing La Viola for the crunch clash.
Genoa capable of avoiding defeat
Like their hosts, Genoa have tabled only four triumphs since September (W4-D13-L14) and despite their current nine-game winless streak, Cesare Prandelli’s men have showcased their potential by picking up a number of impressive points – against Napoli and Roma – whilst also defeating Juventus back in mid-March.
The Grifone scraped a last-minute 1-1 draw with Cagliari last weekend via Domenico Criscito’s penalty to keep them coming into the final round of fixtures and there’s hope the visitors can pull off a better result than Empoli at Inter Milan to secure Serie A survival on Sunday night.
Raw results, particularly on their travels, might make Genoa an unappealing prospect but performance data suggests they’re capable of clinching at least a point in Florence and therefore the +0.25 Asian Handicap start appeals at 1.84.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Genoa +0.25 at 1.840
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.