A typically tumultuous Fiorentina kick of the new decade with a trip to Bologna for the first Derby dell’Appennino of 2020. In 144 competitive meetings since 1931, the Viola hold a W56 D47 L41 edge. Over their past 10, the good guys are W7 D3, including a scoreless draw full of errant finishing in this fixture last year (which also included Cyril Théréau’s penultimate appearance for the team). To up the ante, it’s worth noting that the Viola haven’t lost this derby since 2013, which means that the Felsinei may see this as a chance to avenge 7 years of futility.
The referee for this one is 41-year-old Paolo Valeri of Rome, who’s one of the few Italian referees who’s allowed to work continental and international fixtures (and perhaps slakas’ favorite official). In his 8 outings in the league this year, he’s handed out 34 yellow cards, 1 red card, and 4 penalties. In the 26 Fiorentina matches he’s worked, the Viola hold a W10 D11 L5 mark; last we saw him, he was working a controversial 2-0 win for the good guys over Atalanta last year.
The match will be played on Monday, 6 January 2020, at 11:30 AM GMT/6:30 AM EST, at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in Bologna. The forecast calls for a clear, crisp winter day, with nary a cloud in the sky and barely any wind. Bundle up.
It’s been a solid year for Oscar-Meyer’s finest in the standings, where they’ve fought their way to 9th place with 22 points despite a -2 goal difference. While they’re unlikely to push on for a European spot—at 7 points back of Cagliari, it’s not very realistic that they’ll mount a push—but they’re almost certainly assured of staying up for another season and could finish in the top half, which would qualify as a smashing success; 9th is the highest they’ve finished since 2002.