Fiorentina vs. Cagliari preview: Viola hoping to continue positive start

Dino Panato

The best possible start of two wins from two for Fiorentina has put them amongst the early pacesetters, whilst Cagliari have reprised their mid-table role from last season with a win and a loss.

After a whirlwind summer of additions, Fiorentina began to pay back the transfer outlay in the best possible way, at first with a 2-1 victory over Catania then more emphatically with a 5-2 away drubbing of Genoa. Mario Gómez and Giuseppe Rossi, the two big name additions from January and the summer, appear to have gelled perfectly in grabbing five of the seven league goals the side have scored thus far. Although they struggled past Grasshopper in the Europa League qualifying round, their league form looks in good shape. A key part of this may be the tactical adaptability of both coach Vincenzo Montella, and the group of players he has brought in. Against Catania, a 3-5-2 was deployed with Juan Cuadrado and Manuel Pasqual as the wide players to really stretch the opposition whilst against Genoa, something approaching a 4-4-2 diamond was used, four central midfield players and no real wingers to speak of. Because of the versatility of the likes of Pasqual and Cuadrado, it means Montella can tailor his approach to any opponent, but I would expect to see the three-man defence return against Cagliari.

After surprising everyone in recording a safe mid-table finish, Cagliari once again find themselves in these surroundings after the opening two matches. Despite embarrassingly losing to Frosinone in the Coppa Italia, they bounced back with a victory on the opening day against fellow mid-table battlers Atalanta before succumbing 3-1 away to AC Milan. The Cagliari squad that performed so admirably last season has remained largely intact, even despite rampant summer-long speculation regarding the futures of Radja Nainggolan and Davide Astori but it's a credit to president Massimo Cellino that the club refused to back down on their asking prices for either. Cagliari will be hoping for a repeat of last season and to do that they need to beat the sides they expect to be around them and take points off top sides where they can but with the form Fiorentina are in, it will be a tough ask to leave Florence with anything this weekend.

Disappointingly for Fiorentina, Ahmed Hegazy has suffered a reoccurrence of his anterior cruciate ligament injury and looks set to be sidelined for six months and joining him on the treatment table is captain Manuel Pasqual, after suffering a gruesome-looking head injury on international duty for Italy. Cagliari are still without long-termer Francesco Pisano but Andrea Cossu and Agim Ibraimi could be in line for returns.

Fiorentina injuries and suspensions

Out: Manuel Pasqual, Ahmed Hegazy (injured). In doubt: David Pizarro, Stefan Savic, Matías Fernández, Facundo Roncaglia.

Cagliari injuries and suspensions

Out: Francesco Pisano (injured). In doubt: Andrea Cossu, Agim Ibraimi.

Projected lineups

Fiorentina: Neto, Cuadrado, Savic, Rodriguez, Compper, Ambrosini, Aquilani, Valero, Pizarro, Gomez, Rossi

Cagliari: Agazzi, Dessena, Rossettini, Ariaudo, Murru, Ekdal, Nainggolan, Cabrera, Conti, Sau, Pinilla

Match date/time: Sunday 15th September 2013, 12:30 local, 06:30 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy), beIN Sport Play (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK)

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