Fiorentina vs. Milan: 5 Things We Learned
After going without a win in their last four league games, AC Milan finally breathed a sigh of relief as they defeated Fiorentina by a 2-0 scoreline to secure three points and get coach Clarence Seedorf out of the hot seat.
Mario Balotelli was involved on both goals. The first was a tap-in by Philippe Mexes after Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto parried Super Mario's free-kick. The second, also from a set piece, saw Balotelli curl the ball in to the top corner from right outside the box.
Let's take a look at five things we learned from this Serie A match.
Late Europa Push for Milan?
The Europa League places will reach as far as sixth place in Serie A this season, so a miraculous comeback is still mathematically possible for Milan.
While this competition is regarded as a nuisance by some of Italy's giants, it could be a perfect way for the Rossoneri to give some type of hope to their fervent fanbase that's dreaming of a return to the golden years.
Milan are now eight points away from a spot in the standings that would get them into the Europa League. It's still a possibility if they're able to build momentum.
Balotelli Could Be so Much More Efficient in a Different Role
Mario Balotelli could have easily had a brace against the Viola. He bagged his 12th goal of the season from his usual free-kick position, and he did a better job than he has in recent weeks of being influential.
However, with the way things are going, it seems his future will be decided by his performance in the 2014 World Cup. He could be so much better in an attacking midfield position, where he can create for teammates and not be put in a role where he's not as effective.
Balotelli is hardly a penalty-box predator and is anonymous in aerial battles. It's better to let him play off the striker, where he can shoot from long range or take on a defender.
Fiorentina Have Had the Unluckiest of Seasons
The Viola have nothing left to play for in Serie A and have lost their two main assets to injury with both Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi being sidelined for extended periods.
What was supposed to be one of the most promising attacks in Italy has hardly been able to stay healthy.
It's time for Fiorentina to forget about this season and work on adding a few pieces during the summer and hopefully keeping their two star strikers healthy.
Keisuke Honda Improving Slowly
Keisuke Honda has had a very hard time adapting to Italian football after making the January switch from Russian side CSKA Moscow.
The Japanese international has looked woefully out of form and lacks the fitness to properly show his attributes in a top league.
However, his match against Fiorentina showed a few promising signs that could point toward his emergence in the last few months of the season.
Honda's work rate was exceptional, and he finally was able to shake off a few defenders and create a few chances for teammates.
Clarence Seedorf Safe for Now
According to a report from Gazzetta dello Sport (via Football Italia), Clarence Seedorf had two games to prove himself last week.
The first one against Lazio didn't go so well, as the Rossoneri looked out of sorts and only picked up one point against the Biancocelesti.
However, a convincing win against one of the better teams in Italy should have done enough to keep Seedorf in his role as he looks to improve his craft and hopefully go into the summer knowing that he has the freedom to work for the future.