Preview: SPAL vs. Fiorentina – prediction, team news, lineups
Fiorentina head into their final Serie A fixture of the season looking for the victory which should guarantee them a top-half finish in the standings.
Meanwhile, SPAL welcome Viola to Stadio Paolo Mazza looking to end a disappointing campaign on a high ahead of their return to the second tier.
After finishing down in 16th position last season, supporters of Fiorentina would have had concerns that their 15-year stay in the top flight was in jeopardy.
However, after replacing Vincenzo Montella in December, Giuseppe Iachini has spearheaded a revival, recording eight wins and eight draws from his 22 matches in charge.
The latest burst of positive results, a run of 10 points from five games, have helped Viola into the top half of the standings, leaving Iachini and his side on the brink of holding off a cluster of teams who are bidding to overtake them on the final day of the season.
Despite the possibility of Federico Chiesa ending his long-term association with his boyhood club, there is reason for Fiorentina supporters to be optimistic with regards to their future.
As well as impressing in the final third, Iachini’s team visit SPAL having only conceded three goals from their last five outings, two of which came in a 2-1 defeat at Roma.
With bottom place now confirmed, SPAL will be keen to get Sunday’s fixture over and done with as they begin to make preparations for their first campaign back in Serie B.
Eleven matches have now passed since their last victory, a run which stretches back to March 8, and there were no signs of any last hurrah as they succumbed tamely at Hellas Verona earlier this week.
While Luigi Di Biagio has been threatened with the sack, the former Italy Under-21s boss has insisted that he has no intention of resigning from his position.
However, a 15th defeat from 18 matches may prove to be the final straw for the powers-that-be at SPAL, who will recognise that changes will have to be made before the start of the new season.
SPAL Serie A form: LLLLDL
Fiorentina Serie A form: DWWDLW
Di Biagio is expected to make a number of changes to his SPAL starting lineup after the 3-0 defeat at Verona.
Alessandro Murgia, Jakub Iskra and Marco D’Alessandro are all in line to feature in the team after second-half appearances.
However, Andrea Petagna will hope to retain his spot in attack, potentially as a lone forward if Di Biagio persists with a 4-5-1.
Fiorentina boss Iachini may potentially retain the same XI after their 4-0 demolition of Bologna.
On the back of impressing as a substitute in that game, Christian Kouame is pushing for a return in the final third.
SPAL possible starting lineup:
Letica; Tomovic, Salamon, Bonifazi, Iskra; Strefezza, Dabo, Murgia, Tunjov, D’Alessandro; Petagna
Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Teracciano; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Caceres; Venuti, Pulgar, Castrovilli, Dalbert; Kouame, Cutrone, Chiesa