Fiorentina vs. Verona, preview and TV schedule: Viola need to prove themselves

Bring. It. - Dino Panato

The Viola have a chance to close the gap on third place with a victory at the Franchi on Monday night, but Verona certainly won't make it easy.

There's finally a chance for Fiorentina to move up the table. Ok, ok, they'd need something like 10 goals to jump Inter Milan -- and it wouldn't actually put them above the nerazzurri, considering in Italy it's head-to-head records that matter. But the point is, la viola could pull even with Inter for fourth, and, if Lazio do them a favor, end round 14 just a point behind Napoli, in third.

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But the visitors aren't going to be eager to simply hand over a few points. Verona finally lost at home last weekend, and to upstart rivals Chievo Verona, which makes it all the worse. Hellas have certainly had a strong start in their return to Serie A, but they had to have known that a European position just wasn't in the cards. The team (and the home crowds) are strong enough that Verona won't be fighting a relegation battle, but their finish will be more about pride than anything else. And after two losses in a row, they'll certainly be fighting for a bit of pride in Florence, and they won't let the hosts have an easy time of it.

Verona certainly have enough spark in the squad to make things difficult for the viola. Their young players are having a fine time -- who knew 21 year old Jorginho would be sinking in the goals in Serie A? And grabbing Juan Iturbe on loan from Porto was a brilliant plan. The youth is balanced out by veterans, particularly Luca Toni, who's already knocked in five goals. And he just might want to turn it up against the side he spent last season with...

Besides, Fiorentina haven't exactly been showing off their best side recently. Their midweek Europa match, against Portuguese side Pacos, was one of the most drab matches of football ever played out. It could be argued that's because Vincenzo Montella left the majority of his starters on the bench, but that doesn't account for last weekend's loss against Udinese, when the zebrette completely shut down the Fiorentina attack, stifled Giuseppe Rossi and used a quick counter-attack to end up 1-0 winners. In fact, the viola weren't at their best in the win over Sampdoria either, but a bit of luck in the first half got them the win.

The hosts are finally sitting above Verona. But if Fiorentina seriously wish to challenge for one of Italy's three Champions League positions, their bright attack is going to need to be much more consistent -- it's tough at the top this time around.

Fiorentina Injuries and Suspensions

Marko Bakić, Mario Gómez, Ahmed Hegazy, Manuel Pasqual (injured); Alberto Aquilani (suspended)

Verona Injuries and Suspensions

Projected lineups

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Neto; Tomović, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Savić, Vargas; Ambrosini, Pizarro, Borja Valero; Joaquín, Rossi, Cuadrado

Hellas Verona:

Match Date/Time

Monday, December 2 at 7 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET

Venue

Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

Watch

TV:Sky Supercalcio HD, Premium Calcio, Sky Calcio 2 (Italy); BT Sport 2 (UK); beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Español (USA)

Online: beIN Sport Play (USA), bet365

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