An Unwelcome Return: Palermo – Fiorentina

It was only a matter of time before a team made the right move by hiring the maestro Delio Rossi. Now, that maestro makes his first return to the place he led for almost two seasons, but this time, he’s an adversary.

Much has been made by the media over the past week regarding Delio Rossi’s return to Palermo. There have been plenty of questions directed at the former coach as well as Maurizio Zamparini in hopes of some sort of stinging soundbite. However, for the most part, there hasn’t really been any spiteful words from either party. Delio has continued to be thankful to Zamparini and Palermo for his time spent in Sicily while the fiery owner has been delivering some messages of praise for his ex-coach.

And yet, while Rossi makes his return to the Renzo Barbera, he won’t most of his “old guard”. After all, only Miccoli, Migliaccio and Balzaretti remain. After Delio departed, so too, did Bovo, Cassani, Nocerino, Pastore and Sirigu. In effect, tomorrow’s meeting will be one of nostalgia for the fans rather than the actual members of the Rosanero.

Palermo will also be making a return…home. The heavy defeat against Juventus once again pointed out the club’s road woes. Meanwhile, the Renzo Barbera continues to hold a 100% win percentage. Perhaps the spotless record will face its toughest test on Sunday as the one man who knows how to win at the Barbera will be sitting on the opposing bench.

Probable Lineup

pisano – silvestre – cetto – mantovani
migliaccio – bačinovič – acquah
iličić – zahavi

Bench: benussi; aguirregaray, munoz; bertolo, della rocca, varela; pinilla

There are all sorts of question marks surrounding the lineup and formation Mangia will use on Sunday. The back line has a mandatory change as Balzaretti misses the game because of yellow card accumulation. Andrea Mantovani should take his spot at left back. Mangia could opt for a surprise, though, by inserting Luca Di Matteo at Balzaretti’s spot instead. Some reports have suggested Mangia could issue Cetto to the bench in favor of Migliaccio after the Argetine’s horrid performance in Torino. Should Giulio make the switch to defense, it’d free up a midfield spot for Acquah, Bacinovic and Barreto.

The midfield will depend on how Mangia feels. If Migliaccio retains his midfielder role, then the other two spots are a battle among Acquah, Bacinovic and Barreto. Based on the Paraguayan’s last few appearances, perhaps it’d be better to give Acquah and Bacinovic the starts. Tactically, the obvious choice given the lack of striking options is to use the two trequartista system with Ilicic and Zahavi working behind a lone striker.

Miccoli has already been confirmed as a starter tomorrow and so it should be the Palermo captain to maintain the lone striker while a recovered Mauricio Pinilla begins the match on the bench. Of course, don’t count out Mangia’s preference for a 4-3-1-2 with Pinilla and Miccoli leading the line.

Final Thoughts

It will be an emotional match at least for the supporters and Delio Rossi. There’s no hiding the fact that Delio has etched a place in Rosanero hearts for what he did during his time at Palermo. However, on Sunday, he’s an adversary (not an enemy), and as such, everyone in the stadium will be backing the pink and black. The Renzo Barbera has proven to be a safe haven for the Rosanero as well as a place where the goals are bountiful. Rossi will have to get his tactics right as he won’t be able to count on key players like Jovetic, Palermo ex Cassani and Kharja. Nevertheless, there are still dangerous players who can punish the Rosanero should they let their guard down. Delio may be in our hearts, but Palermo is in our blood. Forza Palermo!

Awaiting Palermo – Fiorentina by Pietro Falanga


11 thoughts on “An Unwelcome Return: Palermo – Fiorentina

  1. Excellent set-up for what will be a difficult match for us. The Rossi thing aside, I hope Mangia has been working on ways to get some width from this side … without Balza we will have trouble attacking on either flank. If nothing is working maybe we’ll see Aquirregaray as an early sub. At least we’re at home – Forza Palermo !

    • Terrific half. Finally a perfect pass from Illicic and a great Miccoli finish. Love Mangia’s strategy of keeping the wingbacks at home and pressing Acquah and Barreto forward with Bacinovic slightly more defensive. Hope Fabrizio’s injury isn’t too serious.

  2. That was a great example of a strong team effort, hard to say who was the man of the match, this new team is coming together well now…….The sun has set on the Rossi era, and now rises for Mangia! FORZA PALERMO!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Fortress Barbera ! Can we see any of this form from Ilicic away from home ? Hope so. Don’t know why Benussi started in goal but I thought he was steady.

  3. Haven”t I told a week or two a go, that iličić is the man for freekicks? What is his statistics? One out of one? And Miccolis?
    But Miccolis finish was good also.
    Good match for Palermo, (but Fiorentia is not as powerfull as Juve last week)

  4. Excellent result at home again. The other teams must shit themselves when they play us in Palermo. Miccoli showed pure class and run like a cheetah after getting that pass from Ilicic to put it away. That’s how you score a 1-on-1 with the keeper. Very happy to see Ilicic put in such a great game too. A beautiful goal and so well deserved. And also special mention to our defenders. Viola pressured us a fair bit but were never able to be dangerous thanks to Silvestre and Miggs in particular who were tremendous. I was pleased with Pisano and Mantovani too who ran and ran and ran.
    … for some reason I really feel like a hamburger now!

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