Europa Conference League finalists Fiorentina will be bidding to end their Serie A campaign on a positive note when they travel to Sassuolo on Friday night.
The visitors are currently ninth in the table, level on points with eighth-placed Torino, while Sassuolo occupy 13th position, one point behind 12th-placed Udinese ahead of the final round of fixtures.
Sassuolo have finished 11th twice and eighth twice in their last four campaigns at this level of football, while they have not been lower than 12th for nine years, but the Black and Greens are currently 13th in the table.
Alessio Dionisi’s side are only two points clear of 14th-placed Empoli, but they are just one point behind 12th-placed Udinese, so their could be some movement in terms of their final position.
Sassuolo have not been victorious in the league since the end of April, picking up just two points from their last five matches, while they will enter this game off the back of a 2-2 draw with Sampdoria.
The Black and Greens have been relatively strong in front of their own fans this season, picking up 28 points from 18 matches courtesy of a record of eight wins, four draws and six defeats.
Sassuolo will be welcoming a Fiorentina outfit that have won just five of their 18 away league fixtures this term, meanwhile, and it would be fair to say that the visitors will have their eyes elsewhere.
Indeed, Fiorentina are preparing to face West Ham United in the final of the Europa Conference League, with the match taking place in Prague on June 7.
The Purples are not going to be playing European football next season via their league position, as they currently sit ninth in the table, six points behind seventh-placed Juventus.
However, Vincenzo Italiano’s side would qualify for the group stage of next season’s Europa League if they beat West Ham in next week’s final, and it is set to be a fascinating contest against the Hammers.
Fiorentina finished seventh in Serie A last season, which proved to be their best position since fifth in 2015-16, but they have found it difficult to show consistency this season, boasting a record of 14 wins, 11 draws and 12 defeats from 37 matches to collect 53 points, which has left them in ninth, level on points with eighth-placed Torino.
The Purples are looking to do a league double over Sassuolo, having run out 2-1 winners in the reverse game earlier this season, but they have not managed to beat Friday’s opponents on their travels since October 2019.
Sassuolo will be without the services of Kristian Thorstvedt due to the milestone yellow card that the midfielder picked up in the draw with Sampdoria last time out.
Agustin Alvarez and Armand Lauriente are also long-term absentees due to knee injuries, while the in-demand Davide Frattesi remains a major doubt for the home side due to a muscular issue.
Domenico Berardi has been the team’s main source of goals this season, netting 12 times in all competitions, and the 28-year-old will again feature in the final third of the field.
Fiorentina remain without the services of Salvatore Sirigu, but the visitors are otherwise in strong shape heading into their final league match of the campaign.
Head coach Italiano took the opportunity to rest some important players against Roma last time out, with Arthur Cabral, Sofyan Amrabat, Nicolas Gonzalez and Christian Kouame among those left out of the XI.
The team’s key players are again expected to be protected ahead of the Europa Conference League final, but there is expected to be another start at centre-forward for Luka Jovic.
Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Zortea, Erlic, Ferrari, Rogerio; Obiang, Harroui, Henrique; Berardi, Pinamonti, Ceide
Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Cerofolini; Dodo, Martinez, Igor, Biraghi; Duncan, Mandragora; Ikone, Barak, Saponara; Jovic