Mo’ Salah, Mo’ Problems For Verona In Florence
Fiorentina entertain Verona in Florence in Monday night’s Serie A clash, with the hosts now in a real battle to earn a European spot for next season.
Thursday night’s 1-1 draw against Dynamo Kiev in their Europa League quarter-final clash made it three games without a win for Fiorentina, although they will be grateful for Khouma Babacar’s last minute equaliser in Ukraine following heavy defeats to Napoli and Juventus.
That loss to Juve ended their hopes of winning the Coppa Italia, while the defeat by Napoli saw Rafa Benitez’s side leapfrog the Viola to leave them sixth in the table and lagging eight points behind Roma in the race for Champions League football after winning just two of their last six league games.
Babacar’s late goal in Kiev took his total for the season to nine, including seven in Serie A, to make him the club’s top scorer while Moahamed Salah has scored seven times in just eleven starts since arriving from Chelsea in January.
Verona’s 3-0 defeat at home to Inter last weekend means they too have now failed to win any of their last three, and conceded eight times in the process. Despite winning only two of their last ten and keeping just one clean sheet over that run of games in Serie A they remain eleven points ahead of the drop zone in 15th place and look highly unlikely to get dragged into the relegation dogfight.
Despite a respectable home haul of 19 points, only two teams have conceded more goals on their own patch than Andrea Mandorlini’s side, but of the teams in the lower half of the table only city rivals Chievo have picked up more points on the road.
Veteran Luca Toni has scored 15 league goals to lead the club’s goalscoring charts by some distance in what’s proving to be something of an Indian summer to the Italian striker’s career.
Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella has no new injury worries although long-term absentees Octavio Manteca, Giuseppe Rossi, Cristiano Lupatelli and Federico Bernardeschi are still out with only the latter likely to feature again this season.
Toni is doubtful for Verona but could still recover from a knock in time to feature, while Vangelis Moras is also touch and go but Emil Hallfredsson and Artur Ionita look set to miss out.
Head to Head
The Viola left Verona with all three points last November after a hard-fought 2-1 win – their fourth victory in a row in this fixture. Last season’s games featured a remarkable 15 goals in two Serie A meetings while there’s been just one draw in the past 13 encounters, with Verona winning just three.
Fiorentina’s best chance of Champions League football next season now lies in winning the Europa League so it’s debatable as to how much stock they’ll put in this game with the return leg of the quarter-final against Dynamo Kiev to come next week.
With that in mind the 4/9 on home win is too skinny to plump for and, of the odds on bets, 4/5 on both scoring looks a far better bet.
Another goal glut could be on the cards too with over 3.5 a decent punt for value at 31/20 while Salah looks the pick of the bunch in the goalscorers markets at 11/2 to score first and 7/5 anytime.
*Prices correct at time of publication.