Is there a better way to restart Serie A than a prime time slot that features a derby between the South’s two premier teams? The Derby Delle Due Sicilie will take on a different feel than in years’ past as the two teams have gone in opposite directions – especially after last season’s end. Napoli is flying high with a passionate president, a good coach and a solid squad that has built upon its core group of stars year after year. In many ways, Napoli is the team that Palermo should be had Zamparini been a competent owner who is willing to stay the course and stick with a coach despite of the first few obstacles.
Now, Palermo will take on a Napoli team that is fighting for supremacy in Serie A while advancing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Meanwhile, the Rosanero are reeling a bit. Under the direction of a new coach and with many faces that have only played with the team since the start of the “revolution” that took place this summer. In any case, the derby is a friendly one in the sense that both sides respect each other and have, in general, played entertaining matches. With the break giving each sides ample time to rest and recover, Sunday night’s affair should prove no different in terms of entertainment. It’ll take a herculean and concentrated effort to defeat this impressive Napoli side, but Palermo always play with confidence in front of their home fans.
Probable Official Lineup (Updated)
munoz – silvestre – cetto – balzaretti
migliaccio – della rocca – barreto
miccoli – budan
Bench: tzorvas; mantovani; acquah, alvarez, bacinovic; mehmeti, pinilla
With only one game to his name, Mutti comes in after the break with a lot of question marks, from the formation down to the players. The Palermo coach will have to do without the likes of Abel Hernandez, Zahavi, Pisano and most likely Pinilla due to injury, while Ilicic is out due to the red card he picked up against Novara.
The early signs are that Mutti will opt for a 4-3-1-2 given that he has at least three strikers at his disposal (Miccoli, Budan and Mehmeti). With Pisano still out, Aguirregaray seems like the one best fit to take his place. Munoz wasn’t fantastic in that role and when Matias came on, he was impressive. Silvestre and Balzaretti are the only safe bets, whereas Cetto may get the nod in favor of Migliaccio who would move to the midfield.
Speaking of the midfield, there was a lot of talk about Della Rocca practicing in the central midfield role. While it wasn’t confirmed, it shouldn’t be surprising (other than the fact that there are better options on the team for that position) if Della Rocca gets the start. He’ll most likely be flanked by Migliaccio and Barreto. Should Migliaccio take up the role of center back next to Silvestre, expect Acquah to take Giulio’s place in the midfield. Despite being new to the team and only having a short amount of practices, Franco Vazquez could very well start against Napoli because of the lack of options for the trequartista role. Up top, Budan and Miccoli should get the start with Mehmeti on the bench.
The biggest thing Palermo has going for them at the moment is that the “Derby Delle Due Sicilie” will take place at the Renzo Barbera. That, and the absence of Pocho Lavezzi. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult match for a team that threw away a 2-0 lead in the last 10 minutes against Novara (while down a man). The additions of Vazquez and Mehmeti are a boost…if only psychologically. Not much can be expected from the two new Palermo signings given that this is an entirely new environment for each of them. If anything, the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of those in Rosanero who have been here all season long. The team must regain the fighting spirit that may have gone and left them over the past few games. No matter the coach, no matter the players, forza Palermo!
SIAMO TERRONI E CE NE VANTIAMOOOO!!!!