Chelsea had some more than decent pre-season friendlies after beating Paris Saint-Germain and European treble winners Barcelona on penalties in the International Champions Cup.
Unfortunately, though, their amazing run of form was curtailed by local rivals as the goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved to be decisive in the derby encounter. But, the friendlies aren’t done yet, as Chelsea look forward to face Italian giants ACF Fiorentina. The match is to be played at Chelsea’s fortress, the Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea would like to end the preseason with the best possible result. So, we analyze how the side from Florence would pan out for this lethal encounter.
History of Fiorentina:
There were fears that Fiorentina would never play in the top flight again after the catastrophic summer of 2002. The Viola had just been relegated to Serie B and then plunged down another two Divisions after their financial collapse.
The club had lost everything, including their name for a short while as the new team were called Florentia Viola. However, they won promotion to Serie C1 at the first attempt only to be catapulted into Serie B after being ‘invited’ to join the expanded championship. A playoff victory against Perugia ensured that they had their Serie A status back after just 24 months away.
Fiorentina are one of the great clubs in Italian football despite their limited success. They’ve won Lo Scudetto just twice, along with numerous Italian Cups, but they’ve spent the majority of their lifetime in A. In fact they’ve only spent four years outside of the Division since 1931.
Fiorentina would surely be riding high on confidence as they secured a 2-1 victory against Barcelona in their previous encounter and drew against Portuguese giants SL Benfica after the match ended in a penalty shootout that helped them secure victory in the International Champions Cup fixture. Their only loss was against PSG where they scored twice and let in four goals. So, they surely have proven their worth and Chelsea should be well aware that Fiorentina isn’t the team they should take lightly.
Injuries and Suspensions:
It seems that Viola club isn’t suffering from any injuries and suspension so they would like to go in with their full strength squad so they would be prepared to face AC Milan in their first Serie A encounter.
Fiorentina are expected to start with a 4-2-3-1 lineup with Milan Badelj and Borja Valero occupying the roles of defensive midfielders. As the game progress, Fiorentina would like to bring in Khouma Babacar alongside Giuseppe Rossi just to create some more chances and to be incisive on both the ends.
Strengths – Key Player: Josip Ilicic
The Slovenian has been in an amazing run of form and attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspurs. Most probably he will play behind Rossi or Babacar. He has been fabulous ever since he has been dropped back into the no.10 spot, and the Slovenian will look to create some magic with assists or goals. He is surely the player that could trouble the Chelsea defence line.
With this being the very last game of the pre-season, Chelsea would like to end it on a high note. A high scoring game would just be an icing on the cake to end the pre-season and would be a boost as Chelsea look to host the Welsh club Swansea this Saturday.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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