Fiorentina 2022-23 preview: Dark horses to deliver?

After a few years in the doldrums, the Viola won hearts and minds with some exciting and occasionally winning football under Vincenzo Italiano. Giancarlo Rinaldi examines whether they can build on that or face yet another crash and burn.

They have been waiting a while in Florence for a team that lived up to the hopes of the city’s football fans but they finally got it in 2021-22. Although they were gloriously inconsistent, the side from the Stadio Artemio Franchi staggered back into Europe and played some thrilling football at times. Even the loss of Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus midway through the season did not cause the collapse many predicted.

Now they face the harder task of delivering on that promise with another season at the top end of the table and, if possible, a decent run in the Conference League. There was consternation that a deal could not be agreed to keep Lucas Torreira but that has partly been made up for by the arrivals of the likes of Dodo and Luka Jovic. There is a feeling of greater depth to the squad than last year for sure.

A team that likes to play expansive and attractive football, they were prone to significant blackouts and will need to cut those out if they want to make progress. They have kept their coach, which was seen by many as key, and he has shown outstanding ability in improving the players at his disposal. If he can do so once more, it could be fun times in the Renaissance city at last.

Key man: Nicolas Gonzalez

After a good, but not great, first season it is time for the Argentina international to step up his level of performance – particularly in terms of goals and assists. Serie A’s most fouled player last year, he definitely showed exciting potential but it did not always translate to concrete influence on a game. Seven goals and six assists were a decent return but if he could step that up just a little bit it would turn more draws into wins and provide vital ammunition for Luka Jovic or Artur Cabral up front.

Coach: Vincenzo Italiano

The man of many touchline outfit changes has quickly won the hearts of fans with his passionate approach and the entertaining football he tries to play. The biggest worry has been that when it goes wrong it does so spectacularly but he will hope to find a solution to that particular failing. An apostle of 4-3-3, if he can get Gonzalez and Jonathan Ikone to click on the wings he could really produce one of the most exciting attacking trios that Italian football can offer.

Watch out for: Striker selection

Fiorentina’s results were fine after Dusan Vlahovic left but they failed to find a hitman to replace his central role. Krzysztof Piatek has been sent packing which leaves Brazilian Artur Cabral and new boy Luka Jovic to fight it out. Resolving that conundrum could be the key to how the Viola’s season unfolds. Who will emerge victorious? Time will tell.

Get the full 2022-23 Serie A season preview here.

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