The biggest dilemma facing Palermo on Sunday isn’t how to recover from last week’s debacle against Milan or how to overcome the eternal road woes that have hounded the club for years.
No, the biggest dilemma rests on the shoulders of Devis Mangia, a young coach with relatively little experience from which to draw upon, with an experienced and temperamental president in Maurizio Zamparini looking over his shoulder. After a midweek summit in which Zamparini, Sogliano and Mangia all sat down to discuss the state of the team, the inevitable question was whether Mangia would keep his preferred 4-4-2 formation or switch to a 4-3-2-1 formation backed by Zamparini.
During training this week, Mangia experimented with a 4-3-2-1 and 4-3-1-2 while also incorporating the standard 4-4-2. Yet, during his pre-game press conference, Mangia was adamant that whatever formation is employed on Sunday will be because he thought it was best and not due to any outside influences. And thus, it will be extremely interesting to see how the Rosanero take the field versus the Giallorossi.
Up until now, Devis Mangia has proven to be better than possibly imagined – even with the poor showing against Milan. He has instilled a style within a team that looked dazed and confused under Stefano Pioli. Furthermore, Devis has insisted that his preferred system is the 4-4-2. Rigidity in Calcio is almost always a death trap; adaptability, though, is often found in successful coaches. The problem is if Mangia employs the 4-3-1-2, will he be seen as one who adapted to the situation or succumbed to external pressure? It may seem trivial in retrospect, but for a young coach, the feeling of control is imperative for success.
pisano – silvestre – migliaccio – balzaretti
acquah – barreto – della rocca
iličić – zahavi
Bench: benussi; cetto, mantovani; bačinovič, bertolo; miccoli, abel hernandez
With all the discussion surrounding the formation, it certainly seems that Mangia will opt for the classical Delio Rossi formation featuring the dual trequartista. It’s a bit ironic considering Zamparini wanted to change the lineup at the end of last season (three man defense). Nonetheless, Migliaccio is likely to remain at the heart of the defense while Balzaretti returns from suspension.
In the midfield, Acquah will make his first start of the season as Bertolo and Alvarez are sacrificed due to the formation change. Somehow, Della Rocca will keep his spot in the starting eleven, even though he looked awful against Milan (but who didn’t?). Iličić also stays in the lineup, albeit moving into a more central role as a trequartista. Zahavi will be inserted in order to inject some life while taking some of the pressure off of the Slovenian to perform.
Up top, both Miccoli and Abel Hernandez will head to the bench as Pinilla will be subjected to lone striker duty. It will be imperative for him to hold the ball up and draw in the center backs in typical Pinilla fashion. If he can wreak havoc and create space for Zahavi and Iličić, goals should be the result. Naturally, any of this is entirely speculative until the starting lineup and subsequent formation is revealed.
Unfortunately, Palermo isn’t afforded the opportunity to forget last week’s road loss while playing in the comforting confines of the Renzo Barbera. Instead, they will be thrown in the fire straightaway at the Olimpico. Both teams are angry – Roma just lost a derby at the death while Palermo were embarrassed in Milan. The outcome of Sunday’s match is pivotal to restore confidence for two sides whose mental state is the picture of fragility. If Mangia is right about anything, it’s that the game starts first psychologically and Palermo will need to get their minds right – above anything else – if they want to achieve anything in Rome.
Roma – Palermo Preview by Pietro Falanga
SIAMO TERRONI E CE NE VANTIAMOOOOOO!!!!