Palermo Club Focus: Things have changed, but have they really?
Another match, and another result that fails to deliver three points to Palermo’s overall total. The positive: they didn’t lose to Torino who are a formidable home team. The negative: Palermo haven’t won in 14 matches. That’s a long time, more than a quarter of the season. Despite not bringing home a victory, Palermo somehow improved in the standings, bringing some hope to an environment that has been desperate for any sort of good news. Whether or not this means anything will become apparent soon, quite possibly after Sunday’s match against Siena.
As I said, Palermo drew 0-0 away to Torino which is a decent result for most Serie A clubs. Torino have one of the better defensive records in the Serie A this season (t-4th best) and given how poor Palermo have been with scoring goals (19th), a 0-0 result isn’t all that surprising. A win would have been a perfect way to welcome back Gian Piero Gasperini on his redebut with the club, but alas it wasn’t in the cards. We can safely say that with that result, it isn’t expected he will lose his job which is a mini-victory in and of itself (has to be said at this point).
Given Gasperini’s return, was there any progress on the pitch with regards to Alberto Malesani’s reign? Well, given Malesani brought home three draws in his three matches: no, but…The formation sent out by Gasperini was a 3-4-1-2, the same formation he has always sent out this season with the Rosanero. How did that differ from Malesani’s 4-3-2-1 from last week against Genoa? Well aside from the obvious differences in terms of tactical setup, there wasn’t much of a difference in terms of performance. Stefano Sorrentino was once again one of the top performers on the pitch as he denied Torino on several occasions from taking a lead. Along with Sorrentino, the entire defence played a solid match with Santiago Garcia noted by several match reports as Palermo’s best player on the day.
Aside from those positives, the same problems that have been plaguing the Rosanero were once again on display on Sunday. To say Palermo are sterile in attack is an understatement. Sunday saw Mauro Boselli, Josip Ilicic and Diego Fabbrini start but despite their best efforts they weren’t able to cause too much trouble for Jean-Francois Gillet. Boselli came off for Fabrizio Miccoli a few minutes after the interval, but the captain was unable to leave a mark on the match.
As I said, regardless of the personnel on the pitch, Palermo once again showed their inability to score goals which has been their major achilles heal this season. Back-to-back scoreless draws in the past two matches could have easily become six points if the Rosanero had somehow been able to find game-winners, but instead we are left talking about what could have been. With only two shots on target against Torino and another eight failing to hit the mark it is safe to say that if Gasperini wants to turn things around, he will have to find someone to light a fire in the attacking third. Dybala? Miccoli? Fabbrini? Boselli? Ilicic? Formica? There are several options to choose from but Gasperini doesn’t have the luxury of time to figure out who should be given the most playing time. If he doesn’t resolve that issue, Palermo will have to begin making plans for life in the Serie B.
While Palermo brought home a point, fellow relegation battlers Pescara and Siena both lost on Sunday allowing our troubled Rosanero to move into a three-way tie for last place (yay!!!). At this point, all of them sit five points behind Genoa and eight points behind Chievo.
Now anything can happen in the Serie A, so all hope will not be lost after this weekend, but Palermo will be banking on both sides losing to AC Milan and Napoli respectively. If upsets were to somehow happen, well things would become increasingly difficult for our boys in pink.
Regardless of other results, Palermo have a golden opportunity to give their season some meaning as they host Siena on Sunday at the Renzo Barbera. Now, to say the match is a must-win for the club is redundant. That notion has been applicable for the past month and Palermo have let us down, mightily I might add.
Four draws and one loss in the month February is a troubling account of the club’s recent form, especially if you look at the quality of their opponents. However a proverbial ‘six-pointer’ hangs in the balance on Sunday, with victory the only acceptable result. If that doesn’t happen, I think it will finally be time to drive the proverbial stake into the heart of Palermo’s Serie A season.
Follow Adriano Boin on Twitter: @Boin44