Juventus vs. Fiorentina: 6 Things We Learned
This was the second time in two weeks that Juventus and Fiorentina played each other. We have seen this kind of thing before: El Clasico as a weekly event. On Thursday, they met in the Europa League, where neither team has played each other before.
This game did have the feel of a derby, and it is true that the two teams share a deep rivalry. Fans sung in full voice, in a full stadium, and put together a full tifo. This competition is not secondary, even if both managers made several changes to their lineup since their previous match on the weekend.
La Viola conceded early but didn’t surrender. Mario Gomez entered the game as a substitute, and when Josip Ilicic lobbed a beautiful ball to Gomez, the German took it down with a delicate touch and slipped a shot underneath Gianluigi Buffon.
Fiorentina drew Juve 1-1 and still remain undefeated in the Europa League this season. Here’s what we now know about these two teams heading for the second leg next week.
Arturo Vidal Is Omnipresent
As usual, Vidal was omnipresent. He is dangerous all over the field. He can play the long ball, scurry around the penalty box and shoot from afar and up close. He even wins the ball in the air.
Vidal is our best striker, no doubt— Terrence Clarke (@terrenceKC) March 13, 2014
It took three minutes for him to get his 18th goal of the season with Juventus. He has scored more than any other teammate.
But the chances he missed also stick out. Vidal could have clinched a hat-trick in the first half alone. He missed two solid headers—one off the crossbar—following his opening goal.
Vincenzo Montella Outdoes Antonio Conte
Juventus made five changes to their starting lineup. Antonio Conte likes to rotate the squad whenever he can, and he makes sure in training that every one of his players is ready to step into the first team.
Andrea Pirlo was one of the few who did not play on the weekend and was one of the fresher midfielders in the game, slinging the ball and making tackles.
The same quality is not available to Vincenzo Montella, but Fiorentina actually fielded six different players than the ones who featured in the starting XI against Juve on Sunday.
But the biggest changes made by Juventus manager Antonio Conte came in attack, and Dani Osvaldo and Sebastian Giovinco just did not do enough to test Fiorentina. It was Giovinco who assisted Vidal for the first goal, but Juventus scored in the middle of mayhem, with the ball bouncing between players before landing at the feet of the Chilean.
Mario Gomez Finally Gets a Goal
Finally, Mario Gomez scored a goal. It had been months since he last found the net—all the way at the beginning of the season in September—and he suffered through injury.
And Gomez kept shooting after that equalizer. It was as if he finally learned the trade again. He looked unencumbered on the field for the first time in a long while. When teammate Josip Ilicic launched the ball up the field, Gomez brought it down with ease and shot a few steps later.
The goal was one fluid motion. Perfect execution.
Juventus Were Too Passive at Home
It is weird: Juventus have scored three goals against top rivals like Roma, Inter and AC Milan at home. They weren’t so ready to kill this game.
Right after Vidal scored the opener, Fiorentina began to press forward, and Alberto Aquilani was the first to really test Gianluigi Buffon. Then Borja Valero joined, and Juventus kept backing up.
The Bianconeri gave up more and more of the ball. Fiorentina’s midfielders began to overrun Juve. It was Montella’s substitutions who did more. Alessandro Matri and Aquilani could not penetrate Juve, who held a firm line before conceding the equalizer. So Gomez came on and scored.
Fiorentina controlled 60 percent of the ball, as per WhoScored.com, and attempted more shots (15) than Juventus (13).
But the league is the priority for Juventus anyway.
Chiellini Back in Action
Here was Giorgio Chiellini, finally back from a thigh injury, showing his true definitions as a left-back. The 29-year-old outran Facundo Roncaglia.
When Antonio Conte first deployed a 3-5-2 formation, Chiellini no longer played as a veritable left-back, but he can still run down the flank and cross the ball with distinction. He drew three fouls, according to WhoScored.com, and caused lots of issues for Fiorentina’s midfielders.
Chiellini is one of the reasons why Juve spread across the pitch so successfully.
Full Support at Juventus Stadium
It’s obvious that Juventus want to play in and host the Europa League final later in May, and 39,610 people attended the match. This game meant a lot.
And maybe it had something to do with the prices.
Juve ultras looking to boycott the reverse fixture next week. Fiorentina charging €50 when their fans have paid approximately €30 tonight— Mina Rzouki (@Minarzouki) March 13, 2014
Fiorentina have done a good job filling their stadium for both Serie A and Europa League matches. We will most likely see a similar atmosphere next week.