With momentum building behind their quest for Serie A survival, 20th-placed Salernitana welcome top-six contenders Fiorentina to Stadio Arechi on Sunday.
After Simone Verdi’s late winner at Udinese in midweek, the Granata have posted back-to-back victories to pull within six points of safety, while their visitors suffered semi-final heartbreak in the Coppa Italia last time out.
Apparently packing their bags for a swift return to Serie B as recently as last week, Salernitana have stirred into life over the past few days, and taking six points from six has renewed hopes of making a great escape.
In a fixture postponed from December due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Campanian club, a late counter-attack saw victory in Udine added to last Saturday’s success over Sampdoria – doubling their tally of away wins this term within a mere matter of days.
Still with a game in hand on most of their relegation rivals, the Granata must now focus on improving a dire home record, as they have not won at the Arechi since early October.
With that defeat of Genoa being their only home win in Serie A this season, they hold the joint-worst record in that regard across the top five European leagues – along with the 18th-placed Grifone and Ligue 1 strugglers Metz.
Having also endured an 11-match winless run before seeing off Samp, Davide Nicola’s men certainly left themselves with a lot of work to do, but hope springs eternal in Salerno.
Despite firing in 39 shots across two legs of their Coppa Italia semi-final tie against Juventus, elimination awaited Fiorentina at the final whistle on Wednesday.
Vincenzo Italiano’s attack-minded side were unable to breach their old rivals’ defence at all throughout 180 minutes of football, and to rub salt into the wound, Juve’s goals in a 2-0 win on the night were scored by former Fiorentina players Federico Bernardeschi and Juan Cuadrado.
Notwithstanding that midweek disappointment, the Viola secured their third league win on the spin by beating lowly Venezia last Saturday – also a fourth Serie A success out of five – and sit sixth in the Serie A standings.
Having inched ahead of regular qualifiers Atalanta and Lazio, the Tuscan outfit are therefore in contention for a return to European competition next term, where they could make a big impression on the continental scene.
First, though, they must quickly recover from their disheartening cup exit, as they aim to post a fourth successive league win for the first time in four years.
Wholeheartedly committed to getting forward in numbers, Fiorentina are yet to keep consecutive clean sheets this season, and could now do so after the 1-0 win at home to Venezia. However, they have conceded in each of their last 12 Serie A away games – the club’s longest such streak since 2010.
Salernitana Serie A form:
Fiorentina Serie A form:
Fiorentina form (all competitions):
We say: Salernitana 1-2 Fiorentina
In contrast to their ownership of the second-best home record in Serie A, Fiorentina tend to struggle away from Florence, and victory will be far from straightforward at the Arechi, given their hosts’ desperate desire for points.
Nonetheless, the Viola are set to record their seventh Serie A win on the road this term, thanks to their capabilities in the final third – which Salernitana are ill-equipped to withstand.