PRE MATCH: FIORENTINA VS JUVENTUS

Having ridden out the controversy surrounding their president's role in attempting to re-shape the future of football, Juventus meet Fiorentina on Sunday, with their top-four place still in some jeopardy.


Juve's involvement in the ill-fated European Super League overshadowed their midweek win over Parma, while this weekend's hosts picked up a precious three points of their own through just a third away win of the season.


When the unheralded Gaston gave relegation-bound Parma a shock lead against Juventus with a superb free-kick in midweek, fears of a major upset rose for the under-fire Bianconeri.


Club president Andrea Agnelli has drawn the ire of fans around the continent this week, as some of his players and - most notably - his manager Andrea Pirlo was among the minority to come out in the former ECA chairman's defense.


Pirlo - rumored to be in danger of being removed from his position in the post-season - declared that "something has to be changed" at the European competition level and that the idea proposed by Agnelli and his co-conspirators was a fundamentally sound one.

With the future still uncertain for both men, on-field events have taken a troubling turn too, as Juve's qualification for next season's Champions League is ironically in serious peril - as Napoli and Lazio continue to lurk close behind Pirlo's fourth-place side.


The Coppa Italia finalists have now won just three of their last six league games after crashing out of Europe against Porto, so will be desperate to avoid anything like a repeat of December's disastrous 3-0 reverse to Fiorentina on this occasion.


That spectacular success aside, high points have been few and far between this term for the Viola, as they went into the midweek round of fixtures only five points clear of 18th-placed Cagliari following a run of three defeats in four.


Fiorentina held onto a potentially vital victory away to Hellas Verona on Tuesday though, which could prove a decisive move in their quest to avoid the drop-down to Serie B.

In all, Fiorentina has won only two of their last ten league games under Iachini - who returned to the dugout following former coach Cesare Prandelli's unexpectedly early departure last month - and the team is still in search of their first consecutive victories this season, with just a handful of games left to play.


To post their first back-to-back wins of 2020-21 this weekend, the Tuscan side must complete a Serie A double over Juventus for the first time since 1968-69.


Furthermore, Fiorentina has failed to score in their last three home matches against the Bianconeri, so will rely on 16-goal striker Vlahovic - who has now netted seven and laid on two in his last six matches - to help them achieve such a feat this time around.


Final Analysis:


Don't expect another lackluster effort by the Old Lady.


Though Fiorentina is far from pushovers on home soil, their error-prone rearguard will struggle to keep Juve's array of attacking stars at arm's length throughout, so are likely to concede at least twice.


The Viola are still in need of points to secure their Serie A status but may have to wait until crucial upcoming fixtures with Cagliari and Crotone to confirm their top-flight place for the 2021-22 campaign.





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