Fiorentina v Torino – Stadio Artemio Franchi at 19:45 live on BT Sport 1
Fiorentina suffered an extraordinary collapse in their Europa League tie with Borussia Monchengladbach on Thursday night, leading to thousands demonstrating outside the Stadio Artemio Franchi demanding the immediate removal of head coach Paulo Sousa.
La Viola led 3-0 on aggregate against their German counterparts but imploded, conceding four unanswered goals inside 17 minutes to tumble out of continental competition. Already trailing European qualification by a distance in domestic matters, any hopes of playing Champions League next season were squashed.
The Florence-based club must now turn their attention towards Monday night’s meeting with Torino but the club’s ultras have been back to Fiorentina’s training ground in the aftermath of Thursday’s disaster, again calling for Sousa to walk.
Last chance saloon for Sousa
Should the Portuguese boss fail to pick up a positive result here, he’s unlikely to last until the May and I certainly wouldn’t be backing La Viola to clinch maximum points despite their unbeaten home record in Serie A this season (W6-D6-L0).
Defeats like the one incurred against Gladbach leave scares, not to mention physical fatigue, and the hosts’ inability to turn draws into victories has left Fiorentina meandering around mid-table when viewing purely home form.
Monday’s hosts have yet to achieve back-to-back home triumphs and come into this clash without their shining light, Federico Bernardeschi. Since his conversion to the number 10 role, his influence has grown and his five goals and four assists in his last 10 games will provide a massive void.
Striker Nikola Kalinic’s return to form since injury provides hope but Matias Vecino’s suspension is likely to force Borja Valero to play in midfield, putting extra emphasis on Josip Ilicic to provide Kalinic with the ammo required.
La Viola’s recent victories in five have come along over lowly Pescara and Udinese and the hope built through the victory over Juventus has evaporated fast. Although the hosts are unbeaten since 1976 at home to Torino, I want to oppose them here with the visitors available at 2.02 with a +0.50 start.
The Granata have enjoyed a full week to prepare as Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men bid to improve upon a rather rotten road record. Torino’s only points in games as guests (W2-D4-L7) have been earned at bottom-half dwellers and their return at top-half teams leaves a lot to be desired.
Torino’s menacing attack
Since the start of last season, Torino have W1-D1-L14 at top-half clubs but their ability to score – the Bulls notched in 11 of those 16 fixtures – suggests they can compete on the scoresheet and take advantage of any Fiorentina frailties on Monday evening.
La Viola have recorded a sole shutout in eight at home, offering Torino’s top-heavy team further encouragement here. However, Mihajlovic’s men have issues of their own at the back and should also allow us to approach an Over 2.75 Goals selection with confidence at 1.76.
The Granata haven’t recovered from the summer sales of Kamil Glik, Nikola Maksimovic and Bruno Peres and this week they’ll be without centre-backs Luca Rossettini, Leandro Castan, Carlao and midfielder Joel Obi. Outside of the relegation zone, only Sassuolo and Cagliari have conceded more than Torino with the visitors managing only five clean sheets.
Each of Fiorentina’s past six outings at the Artemio Franchi have featured three goals, as have 7/13 (54%) of Torino’s away trips this term – more than enough evidence to get behind another goal-filled game in Serie A.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Torino +0.5 at 2.02 and Over 2.75 Goals at 1.76
Prices correct at time of writing.