From near-relegation in 2005 and the Calciopoli scandal to the heady heights of the Champions League, Fiorentina can argue that they’ve managed to trump many a pundit’s expectations and deliver success to a glory-starved fanbase.
But there are exceptions, and this case couldn’t be more pronounced. Fiorentina are to Milan – against whom they will baptize the Rossi era on Saturday – what Tottenham Hotspur are to Manchester United: a gift voucher.
Their record against Milan is abysmal: they have lost their last four home games against the Rossoneri, having not beaten them at the Franchi since 2005.
And it’s not as if the Viola are going through much of a run of form, either. Luca Rigoni’s lone strike at the Bentegodi ended Sinisa Mihaijlovic’s tenure as manager of Fiorentina and heralded Delio Rossi’s arrival, sparking the kind jubilation not seen since… Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Prime Minister. Small world.
To complicate the Viola’s woes, they are up against a side that has turned a corner since its defeats to Napoli and Juventus, and is currently resting on five consecutive wins, which include two impressive victories against Catania and Palermo (complicated opposition) and a convincing 3-2 win in Rome.
The 4-0 mauling of Catania (which yours truly failed to predict) was also evidence of a strong mentality, considering Antonio Cassano’s hospitalization the previous Saturday.
The fact that Milan got goals despite Fantantonio and Pato’s absences indicates the likelihood that they’ll bag some more at the Franchi, a ground where they have managed seven over their last four encounters.
At 13/5, two away goals are a good eventuality, though I would recommend going for three or more, priced at 15/4.
Fiorentina’s leaky Nastasic-Gamberini central partnership will have difficulty keeping up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s power, Robinho’s movement (just think of that mazy dribble against Catania) and the midfield’s forward runs.
Though Kevin-Prince Boateng is absent, Clarence Seedorf will play off the front two: he got a stunner here last year, and is accordingly 13/4 to score at any time.
Let’s not forget Alberto Aquilani (17/4) or Antonio Nocerino (13/2) either, as both of them are increasingly familiar with the net and likely to ease past an exposed Riccardo Montolivo, who will play as a deep-lying regista in a midfield diamond.
Fiorentina’s chances don’t look good – at 5/2, they are below Milan in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Moreover, with only one win in six and a few important injuries, Delio Rossi has his work cut out to re-establish morale and get his team playing the beautiful football he is known for.
His record against Milan isn’t exactly stellar, either.
Despite one win with Palermo back in 2009 (2-0), his record when he was in charge of Lazio was less promising: in four seasons, he never managed a Serie A win over the Rossoneri, and the streak is likely to carry on here.
One of those defeats was a 5-1 mauling at the Olimpico – and though the score won’t be that severe here, I would argue that a 3-1 away win sounds about right, with Stefan Jovetic pulling one back for a Viola side with the character (especially with a new manager in town) but not the tactical nous to pull off a win.
With a bit of wiggle room, why not bet the £25 bwin offers to new punters on a 1:2, 1:3 or 1:4 score, priced at 4/1, for possible winnings of £125?
Some have predicted an Alberto Gilardino gol dell’ex (priced at 5/1 to open the scoring), but it seems unlikely, as he’s only ever managed one goal against his former club.
Rather, focus on Stefan Jovetic (five Serie A goals this season), quoted at 8/1 to net a consolation with the last goal of the game.
Otherwise, punters might be interested to hear that Alexandre Pato has passed a fitness test, and will start from the bench.
Though he’s returning from a serious injury, and despite the fact that he takes a little longer than many others to recover (you can really tell when Pato is carrying an injury, one of the reasons why Milan have been working on his muscle mass), he is still a worthwhile punt to net the last goal of the encounter, since he was instrumental in Milan’s last four visits here, where he has bagged three late tie-breakers.
At 11/2, this injured player is worth a small bet, just in case he does make it on the pitch.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Serie A odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting