Fiorentina in the path of Everton juggernaut

Everton FC will look for an eighth successive UEFA Cup victory as they seek their first win against Serie A opposition at ACF Fiorentina in the Round of 16.

Yakubu Ayegbeni has been in fearsome scoring form for Everton
Yakubu Ayegbeni has been in fearsome scoring form for Everton ©Getty Images

Everton FC will look for an eighth successive UEFA Cup victory, and a first win against Serie A opposition, as they travel to ACF Fiorentina for the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.

• Everton go into the game on a run of seven straight victories – a new club record – in the competition since being held to a 1-1 home draw against FC Metalist Kharkhiv in the first leg of their UEFA Cup first-round tie back in September.

• They have won their last four European away games since going down 5-1 at FC Dinamo Bucureşti in the first round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup.

• Fiorentina have won their last three UEFA Cup home games, but encouragingly for Everton, they have not kept a clean sheet at the Artemio Franchi in Europe in four games – a run stretching back until 2001.

• Fiorentina and Everton have never met in UEFA club competition.

• Fiorentina have played four games against English opposition, all of them in the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League. They drew 0-0 at home against Arsenal FC in the first group stage but won 1-0 at Wembley. In the second group stage they met Manchester United FC, winning 2-0 at home but losing 3-1 in Manchester.

• Current Everton player Phil Neville came on as a substitute in United's defeat in Fiorentina but was an unused substitute at Old Trafford.

• Thus, Fiorentina's record against English opponents reads played four, won two, drawn one and lost one. At home, they have won one and drawn one and have never conceded a goal against an English side in Italy.

• Fiorentina's Cesare Prandelli has never faced Premier League opponents as a coach, but played in four games against sides from England in his days as a midfielder with Juventus, playing in two wins, a draw and one defeat.

• In the most recent of those games, he played a six-minute cameo role in Juve's 1-0 win at home against Everton's local rivals Liverpool FC in the 1984/85 European Champion Clubs' Cup final – a game best remembered for the Heysel Stadium disaster in which 39 fans were killed.

• Everton have also played four games against Italian opposition, though it has been well over 30 years since their last competitive tie against a Serie A side.

• They drew 0-0 at home and lost 1-0 away to FC Internazionale Milano in the 1963/64 European Cup preliminary round and then drew at home and lost 1-0 away to AC Milan in the first round of the 1975/76 UEFA Cup.

• Thus, their four games against Italian opponents have ended in two draws and two defeats (both in Italy).

• The first battle for David Moyes' side may be to score against an Italian defence, having failed to do so in their previous 360 minutes of UEFA club competition football against Serie A opponents.

• Everton manager Moyes played against Prandelli's Juventus in his first game in UEFA club competition with his first club, Celtic FC, in the second leg of a 1981/82 European Cup first-round tie. The Hoops lost 2-0, to cancel out a 1-0 win in the first leg.

• Prandelli was on the books at Juventus but did not play in either leg of that tie.

• Fiorentina central defender Per Krøldrup spent six months at Goodison Park after being signed by Moyes for €7m in the summer of 2005 from Udinese Calcio. However, a persistent groin injury blocked the Dane's path into the first team, and he was to make just two competitive appearances before moving on to Fiorentina in January 2006.

• Everton attacking midfielder Andy van der Meyde could be up against a number of former FC Internazionale Milano team-mates if he is given the chance to play, though he has been out of the first-team picture since the summer following a breach of club discipline.

• The former AFC Ajax man was a team-mate of Fiorentina striker Christian Vieri's at Inter between 2003 and 2005, and his spell at the club also saw him play alongside defender Alessandro Potenza, though the latter was not a first-team player.

• Adrian Mutu will miss at least the first leg through injury, though Everton fans may remember him from his time in the Premier League with Chelsea FC. The Romanian international scored the only goal as Chelsea beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park in November 2003.

• Everton's Yakubu Ayegbeni scored his 16th goal in all competitions for Everton this season in a 2-0 win at Manchester City FC on 25 February to match Andriy Kanchelskis's haul of 16 in the 1995/96 campaign – a total which no Everton player has matched or passed since. Kanchelskis left Everton for Fiorentina the following season.

• Yakubu's hat-trick in the second-leg success against SK Brann in the previous round was the first by an Everton player in Europe since Andy Gray's treble against Fortuna Sittard in the 1984/85 season.

• Everton's Joseph Yobo and Manuel Fernandes are within a booking of a one-match ban. Fiorentina have no players walking the disciplinary tightrope.

• Fiorentina finished second in Group C to qualify for the Round of 32 where they beat Rosenborg BK 3-1 on aggregate. Everton beat Brann 8-1 on aggregate in the first knockout round having won UEFA Cup Group A.

• The second leg will be played in Liverpool on 12 March. The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the UEFA Cup will be held at UEFA HQ in Nyon on Friday 14 March at 12.00CET.