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This is the look of a man who was born two millennia too late.

Three games, three outcomes: a yes, a no and a maybe. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Basel

I have taken the advice of many and not watched this game. Well, that and I can no longer find it on my hard drive. (So bad it's self-erasing? Could goal.com adopt this quality control technique? How about Zach Braff productions and reality television in general, too?)

In lieu I've watched the highlights whilst ducking behind slightly spread fingers. Through them I've determined...

...nothing. Much like the game itself, and that it'll simply serve as a wake-up call for Fiorentina.

La Viola

Aren't I brilliant?

Anyway, there were always likely to be a few bumps along the road. Fortunately they bounced right back, unlike Cluj.

Watching the game now, and this is what I see:

  • Perrotta at trequartista is still the way forward. I don't care what anyone says.
  • Counting bodies in the box on corner...one...two...three...four. That's all. Counter against five bodies? Hardly.

    I love this about Ranieri: simple is as simple does. See a problem? Fix it the easiest way possible. Done.

  • Having some familiarity in the 4-3-1-2 helped them out a bit (they seem to have a more defined shape and are filling any would be gaps far better than last week), having played it quite a lot last year. It also helps when Francesco Totti is the ta tas.
  • Most important question of the night: did Mirko's chip in the 15th minute after the offside call go in the net? This cat does the most amazing things when he appears not to be trying at all. I'll bet his wind sounds like Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 and his morning constitutionals are hardbound editions of the next Anna Karenina.
  • I like seeing central backs near the opposition's back and not scrambling for a defibrillator.

    Of course knowing the score beforehand does wonders. (Details.)

  • Juan's anticipatory skills are top notch. Absolutely top notch. Too bad he can't anticipate his own goddamn injuries.
  • Every single time I think John Arne Riise has a clue as to tactical positioning, he winds up higher on the pitch than anyone but Totti with Fiorentina on the ball. I am defeated. (Somebody just yelled at him. He scurried back.)
  • Marco Cassetti isn't all that awful when shaven. Do that more often.
  • Pretty sure Prade & Co. wanted Santana to make Rodrigo feel pretty.
  • There's no possible way Seb Frey isn't stoned eight days a week. Come on. Cheech bows in reverence. (Chong forgot.)

    (And yes, this is the type of tactical insight I feel like contributing this evening.)

  • Free kick near the box...five bodies. That's still a big improvement from the team picture which was venturing boxward in Siena.
  • 34:03. This is the point where I realized Mutu was on the pitch. This makes brings me happiness in all sorts of unmentionable ways. Think I'll go smoke some pot and order a Doritos pizza with Seb to celebrate.
  • Tottigol: four bodies in the box.
  • Riise is being afforded so much space on that left flank to bomb forward, park a tent and lounge about within cloud's distance of Seb I'm almost tempted to say this first half played out like a 3-4-1-2.
  • Montolivo should go to Sampdoria too. That's all.
  • Three games under Ranieri. Three games no early second half meltdown.
  • Still, while there was no goal early in the second half, they looked content to sit back and take the result home. Not the worst idea, mind you, but I would like to see the foot to the throat of a team like Fiorentina.

    But at least they looked supremely composed and confident. No shaky legs whatsoever. That's certainly something.

  • I bet Totti's backheel could produce babies in some countries.
  • Okakachukamuthafucka looks like he should be involved in the dropping of the soap in an spinoff of Oz.
  • If the current hair of Okaka and Jovetic had a baby, it would be the Jheri curl.

    I kid, but seriously.

  • How close are we to an Okakachukamuthafucka starting spot? CSKA Sofia at home? Livorno? A surprise run at Catania even?

    With all the possession they kept in the first half - granted Vucinic stretches the defense a bit - how many chances on net does he get with mere size and strength alone? Ranieri just might be the thing to kickstart his shoot to stardom - at the expense of Cerci, however.

  • This second half is a snoozefest. Who gave this halftime speech for Fiorentina, a pall bearer?
  • Every time I see Ricardo Faty, he gets all the more intriguing. Kid's obviously got a bit of natural talent which needs nurturing, but I always get the feeling he's going to fuck something up shortly.
  • I'd love to take a bunch of good from this victory, but Fiorentina has spent the entirety of the game in naptime. I blame Seb Frey.
  • Nice to see Simone playing trequartista for both sides today. Told you he's the way forward. Backward, too.

As Ranieri said, things are taking shape and there were some good signs, but by no means a finished product. Particularly not against this carcass that was Fiorentina. But the 4-3-1-2 looks good and the team seems to have found a stable starting lineup of solidified composure. Play smartly, play simply, play composed with a talented roster, and that's a recipe for great success.

Now they just have to do it game-in, game-out.

Palermo

Back at it later with a liveblog, talking nonsensical bullshit in honor of Mensa's cabooses Zampa & Zenga.

Squad

Bertagnoli
Brighi
Burdisso
Cassetti
De Rossi
Doni
Faty
Guberti
Juan
Lobont
Menez
Mexes
Motta
Okaka
Perrotta
Pizarro
Riise
Taddei
Totti
Vucinic

Indisponibili: Baptista, Tonetto, Cicinho, Andreolli, Cerci, Antunes

Projected XI

Julio Sergio;
Cassetti, Burdisso, Juan, Riise;
Taddei, De Rossi, Pizarro;
Perrotta;
Totti, Vucinic.

Unless they implode again this evening, don't expect this to change again for a bit.