Five facts on Tottenham's Europa League opponents Fiorentina

Tottenham have been given a real challenge in the Europa League in the form of Serie A side Fiorentina, but the Viola have some clear weaknesses.

On the surface, Fiorentina seems to be a pretty tough draw for Tottenham, but the Viola haven't exactly had the greatest 2014-15 campaign to date.

Fiorentina have established themselves as one of Serie A's top clubs in recent times and matched 2012-13's fourth-placed finish with another excellent season last time around.

But after spending the majority of the summer successfully trying to prevent star man Juan Cuadrado from leaving, the Tuscan outfit haven't had the greatest of starts.

Tottenham's Europa League opponents are currently in eighth place and although they have found some kind of form after hammering Cesena 4-1 and Cagliari 4-0 either side of a draw with reigning champions Juventus, they have often been prone to costly lapses in concentration.

Spurs have some reasons for optimism but also some hidden dangers and the tie promises to be a tough one to call.

Here are five facts about Fiorentina:

1. Fiorentina are still without their most deadly striker - Giuseppe Rossi. The former Manchester United man started the 2013-14 campaign in lethal form and led the Serie A scoring chart before sustaining a cruciate ligament knee injury. Rossi nearly made it back for the World Cup but was left out of the final squad and he again damaged his knee early this season, prompting the fourth serious operation of his career. 21-year-old Senegalese star Khouma Babacar has been on great form with four goals, but he is also suffering from injury woes. Rossi is due back in February, but it's not clear when he'll be ready to play let alone at full strength.

2. The Viola are good away from home - Fiorentina have won four, drawn two and lost two in Serie A on their travels after beating Cesena 4-1, Cagliari 4-0 and Verona 2-1 on their last three away days.

3. Their star goalkeeper could leave in January - Brazilian shot-stopper Neto has been widely linked with a move to Liverpool. The Viola No. 1 has become a key figure over the last 12 months, but his contract expires in the summer and he has refused to sign a new one, so Fiorentina may have to let him leave. That would be a boost for Spurs, although he did let in this stunning own goal at the weekend: 

4. Juan Cuadrado is trying to live up to expectations - After a stellar 2013-14 campaign and decent World Cup, Juan Cuadrado was suddenly one of Europe's hottest properties in the summer transfer window. The Colombian winger stayed put as no concrete offer arrived, despite talk of a £35 million approach from Manchester United or Barcelona, and is now fighting to live up to the standard he set. At times Cuadrado has been brilliant, but he hasn't always been able to lift his team when they are flat and so far hasn't really demonstrated that he deserves to command daily back-page headlines in the transfer window.

5. Fiorentina are gradually hitting their stride - It was a dismal start to the season as the Viola had to wait until Week 3 for a win, which was then followed by two draws, already leaving them off the title pace. But things have slowly picked up and Fiorentina may finally be starting to show what they are capable of. Mario Gomez is finally back after an injury nightmare, Rossi may be headed back and things could start to heat up in 2015.

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