Juventus
    Juventus
      12.12.2015 13:00 - in: Serie A S

      Fiorentina on the road

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      Fiorentina head to Juventus Stadium with 13 away points to their name, the second most in Serie A this season. Here’s where they have come from
      The season in brief

      Reaching the semi-finals of last season's Europa League, picking up the second highest number of points across the calendar year (72), finding the net more often than any other Serie A side this term (30). These are just three reasons why Fiorentina will pose an intriguing test to the Bianconeri on Sunday evening at Juventus Stadium.

      Undoubtedly a key component in the Viola’s impressive start to the campaign has been their record away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi that has yielded 13 points in the league, the joint-second best total, tied with Juve having played a game fewer, behind league leaders Inter (14).

      Strikingly, Paulo Sousa’s men have achieved this by monopolising possession in the vast majority of their fixtures, claiming on average a 62.6 per cent stake of the ball, the highest in Italy’s top flight.

      It will come as no surprise either then that the Viola have also completed the greatest proportion of their passes in Serie A (88 per cent).

      September's 4-1 win over Inter saw the Viola enjoy a staggering 68.7 per cent share of possession.
      Stand-out results

      Add to that the two victories and a draw collected on their travels in Europe so far this term, it is no surprise that Sousa’s charges find themselves in the upper reaches of the table at the turn of the year.

      Since suffering a 3-1 defeat away to Torino at the end of August, Fiorentina have subsequently lost just once more on the road all season, succumbing to a one-two punch from Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain at the San Paolo six weeks later, a result that knocked them off the Serie A summit. 

      That narrow reverse in Naples came after, arguably, the best away performance of the season so far, as they convincingly beat Roberto Mancini’s Inter 4-1 (that game aside, the Nerrazzuri have conceded just five times this term) thanks to a hat-trick from their top marksman Nikola Kalinic (nine).

      Kalinic the key

      Indeed, Kalinic’s scoring form has manifested itself most evidently on the road where the Croatian has scored six of his nine league goals.

      And it would be the ex-Blackburn forward’s second-half strike on Fiorentina’s next away day in Verona that sealed the points for the Viola following an early own goal from Rafael Marquez.

      Thrashing newly promoted Frosinone in between, Kalinic was at it again two weeks later at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to sink strugglers Sampdoria, adding to Josip Ilicic’s tenth-minute penalty, the Slovenian’s fifth strike of the campaign.

      Kalinic (nine) is the league's third-highest scorer this season behind Napoli's Higuain (14) and Sampdoria's Eder (10)

      Consecutive draws would follow, 2-2 at the Artemio Franchi thanks to a brace from Kalinic, and 1-1 in Reggio Emilia against high-flying Sassuolo, with midfield playmaker Borja Valero netting for the visitors that day.

      Continental conquests

      Fiorentina’s consistency on the road has also been carried over into their ongoing Europa League campaign.

      In fact, seven of their ten points in the competition’s recently concluded group stages came outside of Italy, drawing with eventual pool winners Basel (2-2) and defeating Lech Poznan (2-0) and Portuguese outfit Belenenses (4-0).

      That October triumph in Lisbon over their nearest qualification rivals was a result and performance that demonstrated their ability to impose their style with supreme authority on a match as the visiting team on the continent.

      Five Viola players completed 75 passes or more against Belenenses.

      In a one-sided encounter, Sousa’s side completed almost three times as many passes as their hosts (686 to 235) at an accurary of 89.9 per cent, while enjoying a staggering 73.6 per cent share of possession, the sort of dominance that unsurprisingly produced four goals. 

      Whether Fiorentina will be offered the same kind of freedom and space in which to operate against the champions, however, is an entirely different matter.

      What is certain is that those in attendance at Juventus Stadium for the Bianconeri's final home Serie A outing of 2015 are in store for one of the biggest games of the season so far. 

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