Fiorentina vs. Pescara, Preview: Should be simple for the Viola

Giuseppe Bellini

It's sharks versus minnows in Florence on Sunday, and only a fool would bet on the Dolphins.

Fiorentina won't be able to close the gap on Lazio after the second-placed side came back to beat Cagliari on Saturday, but they'll be hoping to extend their lead over Inter Milan and Napoli by clinching all three points against Pescara. With the delfini still hovering precariously close to the drop, it should be no problem for Fiorentina to squish the visitors.

When the Viola hosted last-placed rivals Siena, they won 4-1. When they visited second-from-bottom Palermo, Fiorentina came away with a 3-0 victory. There's nothing about Pescara's past performance that suggests Sunday's match will be any different. The freshly relegated side have conceded the most goals in Serie A -- 35 -- and scored the least -- 15. The delfini have won just once on the road and scored only five times.

Anyone betting on a surprise Pescara win will be wagering based on their last result before the break, a surprise 2-1 victory over Catania. While the home side did play well, it was a last minute free kick by Eugenio Togni that clinched all three points, a shot that Catania's keeper could do nothing to keep out.

Do expect a spirited and -- dare I say it? -- gritty performance from Pescara. But Fiorentina are chasing a Champions League position, with all the strength that implies. This Viola is strong, it's fast, and it's capable of ruthless defeats. This story seems pre-written, so don't expect many twists in the plot.

Fiorentina Injuries and Suspensions

Michele Camporese and Ahmed Hegazy (injured); Ruben Olivera and Gonzalo Rodríguez (suspended)

Gonzalo's been great in central defense for the Viola this season, having appeared in nearly every one of their matches to date. It will be Facundo Roncaglia who steps in to fill the back three.

Pescara Injuries and Suspensions

Ante Vukusic (injured)

Neither of Pescara's coaches have managed to coax the best out of the young Croat thus far, but Pescara still need every ounce of potential firepower available, and it hurts to have him missing.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, January 6 at 3 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

TV: Sky Calcio 3, Arena Sport 1 Serbia -- right now if you're a Fiorentina supporter and you want to watch your club, the best place to live is in the Balkans, as they seem to broadcast every Viola match.

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