Inter Milan might have produced a second-half show of power to overcome Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi for a 3-1 win on Tuesday, but the hosts were the better side in the first half and were unlucky to lose by two goals while finishing with 10 men.
Riccardo Sottil opened the scoring for Vincenzo Italiano's men but two quick-fire Inter goals at the start of the second half and a double booking and dismissal for Nicolas Gonzalez put the game out of Fiorentina's reach.
Do not let the result fool you, though, Fiorentina are better than they have been for many years, and Serie A will be all the better for it. Here are four reasons Fiorentina will continue making noise in the Italian league this season.
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1. Italiano influence
Although it is still early, it feels like Fiorentina really aced the managerial decision to move for Italiano after Gennaro Gattuso's controversial and short-lived reign. The German-born 43-year-old has been pragmatic in his approach and taken what has been a talented squad for a while with a few quality additions for this season and got them doing the basics well.
They might have lost 3-1 twice already this campaign but take Gonzalez and Bartlomiej Dragowski's red cards in either contest out of the equation and the final scores may well have been closer against Roma and Inter.
2. Prolific potential
1+1 - Prior to Nicolás González (one goal and one assist at Franchi stadium in two league games), the last player able to take part in at least one goal in each of his first two home Serie A matches with Fiorentina was Alberto Aquilani in 2012. Speedy.#FiorentinaInter #SerieA— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) September 21, 2021
Now five games into the new term, Viola have scored in each outing so far and are averaging better than a goal per match with eight scored across five appearances. Contrast that with last season's finish which saw them goalless in three and the rejuvenation of one of Serie A's most recognizable names in front of goal is clear.
On that topic, Dusan Vlahovic is developing into one of Europe's hottest striking properties after 2020-21's prolific haul of 21 goals. The Serb has started well this campaign with three from five and the 21-year-old has cited Italiano's influence as a key reason for desire to stay at Stadio Artemio Franchi for at least this term.
If Fiorentina can continue to tap into their awesome attacking potential, then they can qualify for Europe and potentially cause problems for the established hierarchy at the Italian summit.
3. Calcio core
Something else which gets overlooked when considering Italiano's troops is the homegrown element which is impressive considering that the likes of Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernadeschi have moved on in recent years.
Cristiano Biraghi, Giacomo Bonaventura, Riccardo Saponara, Gaetano Castrovilli, Riccardo Sottil and Marco Benassi all feature regularly, are Italian, are under the age of 30 and have international experience with the Azzurri at different levels.
This is helping to give Fiorentina a stronger sense of identity than in recent years when the likes of aging talents Franck Ribery, German Pezzella, Borja Valero and Martin Caceres gave the team a feel of something closer to a retirement home.
4. Flair in Florence
It is not all about the Italian talent or youth, though, with Jose Callejon an experienced player in the group. Alvaro Odriozola, Lucas Torreira and Gonzalez have added to pre-existing talents in Vlahovic, Sofyan Amrabat, Erick Pulgar and Nikola Milenkovic.
The current mix appears to be more balanced than in previous years and Italiano now seems to have identified the right combinations conducive to success which is why result are starting to come against teams Fiorentina should realistically have been beating for years.
If those points continue to come, then Viola will continue to be upwardly mobile and one of the teams to keep an eye on. You can catch every Fiorentina and Serie A match on Paramount+.