Alberto Gilardino: Why Fiorentina Need Help From Their Hitman
At the key moments in any season, you need your stars to shine their brightest.
There is little doubt that the next few weeks represent a pivotal point in Fiorentina’s fortunes. Now, more than ever, they need Alberto Gilardino to stand up and be counted.
The prolific hitman’s form has cooled lately from its red-hot state earlier in this campaign.
On Sunday night against Roma, he missed a chance he would normally have gobbled up with relish.
His last Serie A goals came more than a month ago in the 5-1 mauling of Siena and since then, he has seemed less sharp than usual.
It is hardly a major goal drought, but still it is a cause for concern.
Cesare Prandelli’s men have slipped dangerously down a tightly-packed league table and are in serious danger of missing out on Europe next year altogether.
Sampdoria, and a striker the Viola discarded, Giampaolo Pazzini, could put another nail in that coffin on Saturday night.
Then comes Bayern Munich.
Fiorentina need their finest goalscorer to get his shooting boots back in full working order as soon as possible.
The absence of Adrian Mutu through suspension has only made the condition more acute.
New signing Keirrison will need time to find his bearings in Italy while Stevan Jovetic will never be an out-and-out striker.
The rest of the team can contribute a few goals, of course, but they need their talismanic forward to be firing on all cylinders to help them along.
When in full flow, Gilardino provides an outlet for all of the Tuscan side’s offensive play which they have desperately missed in recent times.
Nine times out of ten, he is the man who finds himself on the end of a Juan Vargas cross when it comes flying into the penalty box. But that has not been the case of late.
Clearly no one player can carry a team, nor should he be expected to do so.
However, the defeat to Roma must serve as a lesson.
Fiorentina dominated the Giallorossi for much of the game but failed to put the ball into the net. Then Mirko Vucinic gave them a harsh lesson in taking your chances.
Il Gila is not normally a man who needs to study anyone in terms of marksmanship. There are few more smooth operators inside the penalty box than the former Milan striker.
He turns and swivels with the grace of a ballet dancer.
The moves have all been there of late, it is just the finishing that has been missing.
Now more than ever, Fiorentina need their top scorer to come good and give them some assistance in clambering back up the league table and seeking progress in Europe.
The rest of the team will have to play its part, for sure, but a few goals from Gilardino could make all the difference.
Otherwise, a season which looked so promising might end up as one that will be easy to forget.
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