One club’s trash is another club’s treasure. The disastrous Pioli period at Palermo never even made it to a regular season game as his poor showings during friendlies and in the Europa League were enough for Zamparini to remove him. Yet, when Bologna had an abysmal start to the new season, the club sacked Pierpaolo Bisoli and placed Stefano Pioli in charge.
Since Pioli stepped in a month ago, the club has won three out of four games. Such early success has led to a sense of vindication for the ex-Palermo boss who feels that, unstated or not, he wasn’t given a fair chance in Sicily. Nevertheless, his claim to not seek any sort of vendetta against Zamparini on Saturday seems a bit of a stretch. Make no mistake, Stefano Pioli would love to stick one to his old employer and he would get great enjoyment out of it.
There is no ill-will towards Pioli. After all, he had the unfortunate experience of replacing a beloved coach who brought the team to the pinnacle of success – even if they never reached the summit. It was always going to be hard to reignite the enthusiasm and passion that was built under Delio Rossi. Furthermore, he just may not have ever had the full support of the players, especially those who no longer play on the team. Sadly, Pioli was the wrong man at the wrong time for the Rosanero.
Meanwhile, despite the resignation of Palermo dS Sean Sogliano, Zamparini was quick to confirm absolute confidence in his young coach Devis Mangia. In addition, Mangia received a pay raise while signing a two year contract as the Palermo boss. The loss of Sogliano, though, means that Mangia will need results in order to maintain his security at the helm. He may be young and inexperienced, but Devis is full of confidence and has a team that supports him. And that may be just enough to get by.
pisano – silvestre – cetto – balzaretti
migliaccio – bačinovič – acquah
iličić – zahavi
Bench: benussi; aguirregaray, munoz; alvarez, bertolo; budan, miccoli
The 4-3-2-1 should be the most likely formation from the start on Saturday as Mangia had to deal with injuries depleting virtually every striker at his disposition. Abel Hernandez managed to recover just in time from the hamstring injury that caused him to be a late scratch last week, while Miccoli barely recovered to be called-up. It’s doubtful whether or not he’ll play tomorrow as the Palermo captain even admitted himself that he wasn’t fully fit. With Pinilla out and no other real options, Mangia gave Igor Budan his first call-up.
The two trequartiste should provide plenty of support for Abel’s pace up top. In addition to that, the bash brothers behind them seem to be the likeliest choices in the midfield. Look for Armin to be an important player for the tempo of the match. At the back, nothing should change as the defensive back four have proved to be the most steady constant for Mangia in recent weeks.
Beyond the “revenge” factor, Bologna have managed to perform well in recent weeks and several of their players have began to perform up to their potential. The evergreen Marco Di Vaio is always a threat and the Rossoblu have a budding star in trequartista Gaston Ramirez. It’s no secret that the squad has experienced a mini-revival since Pioli took over, but let’s not be mistaken. In the four games under Pioli, the three wins came against teams close to the relegation battle (Novara, Chievo, Atalanta) while their loss came against a solid opponent (Lazio).
Mangia has had the magic at the Renzo Barbera so far this season. The club has tied its own record of wins at home to start the season and a win on Saturday would establish a new record. A win will be expected but nothing can be taken for granted. The team needs to show the same spirit they’ve shown in the past and simply cannot expect to cruise to an easy victory. With the distractions from this past week, a welcomed three points would help put Palermo back on the path of success.
SIAMO TERRONI E CE NE VANTIAMOOOOOO!!!
**A special thanks to Penina for the graphic at the top of the post!**