Conor Clancy Date: 27th January 2020 at 11:31am
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STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma) – With three more points against Udinese on Sunday afternoon Parma took their tally to 31 after 21 games in 2019/20.

At this same point last term the Crociati had 28 points in what was their first season back in the top tier, only for their form in the second half of the season to dip dramatically.

The 2018/19 campaign ended with the Gialloblu on 41 points, just three above the relegation zone, but this current crop look better equipped to maintain the level they’ve shown so far.

D’Aversa’s setup, Bruno’s leadership and Dejan’s class

Roberto D’Aversa has a close-knit group at the Tardini, and his organisation is in no small part to thank for their relative success.

Despite losing Alessandro Bastoni last summer with his loan from Inter expiring, Parma’s backline remains hard to overcome.

Bruno Alves continues to lead from the heart of the defence and Simone Iacoponi has progressed in his role alongside the captain.

Even Luigi Sepe behind them has improved dramatically this season.

Throughout 2018/19 there were sharp intakes of breath whenever the goalkeeper had the ball at his feet or a cross was put into his box, but he’s established himself as one of Serie A’s better performing goalkeepers since the summer.

On top of the solid base they have a powerful midfield thanks largely to Juraj Kucka and, on Sunday at least, Matteo Scozzarella, while Hernani and Dejan Kulusevski provide a touch of class.

The Swedish teenager scored his fifth of the season against the Zebrette, becoming only the second teen in Europe to score at least five league goals this season alongside the sensational Erling Haaland.

History bodes well

Since 1994/95 Parma have found themselves on at least 31 points after 21 rounds of fixtures 11 times.

Of those 11, they’ve gone on to finish in the top six on ten occasions.

Though this season the competition is more intense than it has been at times, Parma will fancy themselves to battle against Cagliari, AC Milan, Napoli and whoever else considers themselves to be European hopefuls.

An important fight

The Curva Nord continued their protest against high ticket prices on Sunday.

With only around 40 Parmigiani occupying the away end at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium last week, Parma made headlines for a movement they’ve been pushing all season.

Fingers were pointed at Lega Serie A on Sunday as they called, once more, for ticket prices to be more fairly decided upon.