Fiorentina-Milan Preview: In the Valley of Sorrows

Going to the Stadio Artemi Franchi always brings intense emotions for Pioli, who managed Fiorentina for two years. During his time at the helm, you may remember, his captain (and former Milan Youth player,) Davide Astori passed away six years ago. Now Fiorentina are mourning someone else, as their General Manager, Joe Barone, suffered cardiac arrest just hours before their last match was scheduled to occur, and passed away last week, just two weeks after the anniversary of the loss of Astori. It is in this atmosphere that Milan travel to Florence to play Fiorentina on Saturday, in the valley of sorrows.

This one is always an emotional one for Pioli, who is still respected by Fiorentina fans.

Fiorentina's manager, Italiano, took a page from Pioli's book and encouraged his players, some of whom survived the Astori tragedy, to honor Barone on the pitch. When Astori passed away, Pioli led his team to a remarkable finish to their season, honoring his memory. This match will be interesting, because having not played their match ahead of the international break, Fiorentina's last match was actually a 1-1 draw with Maccabi Haifa in the Conference League on March 14th. 

Mourning another sad loss for Fiorentina.

Their last Serie A match was a 2-2 draw vs. Roma on Sunday the 10th. For that match, Italiano lined up: Pietro Terracciano; Kayode, Milenković, Luca Ranieri, Biraghi; Maxime López, Mandragora; Nico González, Milan's former Bonaventura, Sottil, and Belotti. For this match, however, Bonaventura got himself suspended so he would not have to face his former club, and Italiano is also missing goalkeeper Oliver Christensen to injury.

Pioli also has a player suspended – Theo Hernández, who will be sitting this one out due to card accumulation after being shown a ridiculous yellow card vs. Verona last week for his goal celebration. Pioli has a few injuries, as well, including Kalulu; Kjaer, who was injured playing for his National team; and Pobega. While Pobega was spotted returning to training this week, he is far from earning a starting position at this team just yet. 

Will Jović score against his former team this time?

Called up for this match are youth players Kevin Zeroli, Davide Bartesaghi, and Jan Carlo Simić. It remains to be seen if some players will start or play at all, such as Pulisic, whose condition Pioli mentioned was in question after traveling to the U.S. for the international break and playing so many minutes. As for the rest of the lineup, Pioli should use his best 11, with Florenzi the most likely to deputize for Theo, at least to start, with Calabria on the right.

Despite the success Pioli has had in four and a half years at Milan, there is still an unwarranted contempt held for him by many Milan fans. Coming into this match, Milan have won five straight matches and have a very good overall record so far in 2024 in Serie A and Europa League. However, Pioli warned in his prematch press conference how Milan often struggle at the Franchi, and the pitfalls we have faced following international breaks. So, in spite of the fact that we defeated Fiorentina 1-0 at the San Siro in November, this match could prove more difficult. Particularly now that the Viola have a cause to play for. Milan could very well be leaving in a more somber mood after playing in the valley of sorrows.

This post inspired by the music of Jane Siberry's "It Can't Rain All the Time"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 30
Fiorentina vs. Milan
Saturday, March 31, 2024 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT*)
*note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Serie A provider elsewhere
For example, sign up for BeIN Sports in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa,
they both use the World Feed commentary for Serie A, which is fantastic
(*and they also do not sponsor Inter's kits)

Fiorentina-Milan Preview: In the Valley of Sorrows Fiorentina-Milan Preview: In the Valley of Sorrows Reviewed by Elaine on 4:00 AM Rating: 5
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