A stern challenge in a fiery stadium. Fiorentina vs AC Milan promises to be a tough match, especially off the back of the break. Taking place on Matchday 13 of Serie A, the rossoneri's progress so far has been exceptional. To stay at the top of the table, a strong performance as we are accustomed to seeing at the Franchi will be necessary. We analyse the trip to Florence with our usual focus on the duels, statistics and form.
DUŠAN VLAHOVIĆ vs ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIĆ
Zlatan versus Dušan, a player who has always claimed to have been inspired by Zlatan. Fiorentina's No. 9 against the rossoneri's No. 11, two thoroughbred strikers. Looking at the stats, Vlahović has scored 25 goals in Serie A in 2021 - only Kurt Roland Hamrin in 1960 scored more goals in the top league in a single calendar year in a Fiorentina shirt (27). The Serbian is the player who has won the most points (9) for his team in Serie A this season, thanks to his eight goals. In all four of his matches against AC Milan, however, he has never found the back of the net. Ibra on the other hand has scored 9 goals against Fiorentina in Serie A and could become the 24th player in Serie A history to score double figures against four different teams in the league (with the other teams being Roma, Palermo and Parma). This would also be the second most out of all current players after Fabio Quagliarella. In addition, if Ibrahimović were to bag a goal, he would become the third-oldest player ever to score in Serie A history, surpassing Pietro Vierchowod by one day (40 years and 47 days) - with Costacurta and Piola being the only two ahead of them.
JOSÉ MARÍA CALLEJÓN vs ALEXIS SAELEMAEKERS
Two of the most devoted players on the pitch: one for Italiano, the other for Pioli. Two players that the coaches rarely leave out the first team. The Spaniard has played in all 12 league games this season, providing an assist in the win over Spezia. Since his arrival at Fiorentina last season, Callejón has yet to find the back of the net in 32 league appearances, that said, he has netted three times against AC Milan in Serie A during his career, including a brace in August 2016. Just like the Spaniard for Italiano, Saelemaekers, along with the likes of Bennacer and Leão, is one of the first names on Coach Pioli's team sheet. This is backed up by the fact he has been used either as a starter or off the bench in all 12 Serie A Matchdays so far. His pace and versatility have often proved decisive in this first stage of the season, while his defensive work-rate is highlighted by a particular statistic: with 14 fouls committed, along with Giroud and Kjær, Alexis is the Rossoneri player who has been blown up for the most fouls so far in Serie A. He also provided two assists against Spezia and Venezia but has not scored since Sassuolo v AC Milan in December 2020.
CRISTIANO BIRAGHI vs THEO HERNÁNDEZ
A huge battle on the left flank. The viola captain on one side and the returning Theo on the other. Fiorentina's No. 3 is the fifth-best player in Serie A in terms of chances created (22), and also a great attacking option for Italy, as shown by his 76 crosses delivered this season and the 329 passes completed in the attacking half. On the rossoneri's left flank, Hernández is back in action, fresh from two assists for his national team. After missing the Derby, Theo takes his place on the left flank once again: 3 assists this season, the highest among the rossoneri, and 1 goal against Venezia. The No. 19 has only played 110 minutes in his last five Serie A games, but he's ready to get back up to speed on the left flank.
BARTŁOMIEJ DRĄGOWSKI vs CIPRIAN TĂTĂRUŞANU
Five appearances apiece in Serie A, almost in succession between the two. The viola keeper was a starter until Fiorentina v Napoli on 3 October, when he was injured and came off for Terracciano. Ciprian, on the other hand, took over between the rossoneri sticks from the next matchday, AC Milan v Verona on 16 October, replacing the injured Maignan. 6 goals conceded each, and the number of saves they have made is also similar: Tătăruşanu has made 14 saves, with a 70% save percentage, while Drągowski made 13 saves, with a 68% save percentage. The Pole will return from injury against the rossoneri, while the Romanian will seek to maintain the excellent form he has shown in recent matches.
The PUMA AC Milan jerseys for the 2021/22 season are available: buy them now!