Alasdair Mackenzie Date: 2nd November 2020 at 1:30pm
Written by:

Surely Rocco Commisso’s trigger finger is twitching by now.

If the Fiorentina owner watched his side’s display at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, he would be forgiven for phoning up his coach Beppe Iachini to ask for an explanation as to what exactly his plan was.

This was far, far too easy for Roma. The Giallorossi are a talented side in decent form, but they will rarely have easier days at the office than they did against La Viola.

Iachini lined his side up in the usual 3-5-2 formation, with two wingers – Franck Ribery and Jose Callejon – playing up front.

They were invisible, completely nullified by Roma’s physical, dynamic back three of Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez.

Gaetano Castrovilli, so often the silver lining for Fiorentina this season, lit up the opening 90 seconds before falling out of the game and getting replaced at half time.

But the most worrying aspect of Fiorentina’s performance was the apparent absence of any tactical plan to commit to at any point.

You would imagine that the no-striker system was worked on during the week, but by the end of the match Iachini had abandoned the idea completely and thrown three centre-forwards onto the pitch one by one as he got more desperate: Dusan Vlahovic, Christian Kouame and Patrick Cutrone, in that order.

There wasn’t anything particularly sophisticated about the approach. The strikers stood in a line as passes were pumped towards them in the vain hope of making something happen.

When the full-time whistle blew, Fiorentina had 58 per cent possession to their name, but only one shot on target to show for it – a Kouame header that was easily gathered by Antonio Mirante.

The only real saving grace for the display was the performance of goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski, who made several excellent saves to keep the score down.

Iachini is running out of excuses for performances like this. Next month he will have been in the job for a year, so a lack of time can’t be blamed.

He already had a talented young team to begin with, but it was bolstered in impressive fashion over the summer with the additions of Sofyan Amrabat, Giacomo Bonaventura, Borja Valero, Jose Callejon and Lucas Martinez Quarta, with an estimated €43 million being spent.

A lack of resources or investment therefore can’t be blamed.

Fiorentina fans are unlikely to immediately demand Champions League qualification or silverware from this team.

But they have every right to demand improvement, and that hasn’t been forthcoming so far this season. La Viola now have one win in their last five Serie A matches – in that time they’ve lost to Sampdoria, drawn with Spezia and even their sole victory against Udinese had a nail-biting ending, after the Florence club’s three-goal lead was cut to just one as they risked a spectacular collapse.

It’s tempting to wonder if the next two games will decide whether Commisso allows Iachini to eat his panettone or not.

Fiorentina are away to Parma next, before a home clash against Benevento. They are both games that this team should be winning and if they don’t, things could start to get uncomfortable – Milan, Atalanta, Sassuolo and Juventus are among their opponents before Christmas.