With the season halfway through, we found the time right for a little assessment of Palermo’s players so far. A lot has changed since last season, when guys like Nocerino, Sirigu and Pastore got mentioned in the “Serie A Team Of The Week” on what was pretty much a weekly basis. This year it’s not like that. Here’s our look at what our boys have been doing.
The Greek had the difficult job to replace Wonderkid Sirigu, but found himself benched before the Fiorentina game, in favor of Benussi. It wasn’t so much because of his performances, seeing as his first couple of matches were a good showing of his talents, but rather because of his inability to communicate with his defenders. Will stay until June (has already played for Palermo and Panathinaikos this season), but unless something happens to Benussi he won’t remain in rosanero for long after that.
After he saw his playing chances minimized when Palermo crashed out of the Europa League, Benussi got the nod from Mangia and delivered. A professional who doesn’t complain and gives his heart every game. Has shown that he’s a good and stable keeper, but got thrown away on loan to Torino like a used condom. Guy deserves better than that.
Played only half a game, the Coppa debacle against Siena, so not a lot to say about him. It’s not easy to be the third choice, but hasn’t complained since arriving in Palermo.
Had the difficult task of trying to fix what has been one of Palermo’s biggest problems: the center of the defense. Made us forget about Bovo immediately, but went down a bit with the rest of the team in recent weeks. Without a doubt our best transfer.
Another new face, but unlike his countryman Silvestre, an unbelievable failure. Didn’t start out bad, but went completely AWOL in Torino and has never recovered. Misses easy interceptions, is bad at headers and seems to lack focus during games. A real liability. Luckily, french team Lille didn’t see him that way and decided to take him on a six month loan with an option to buy worth 1.5 million €. Let’s hope they take the bait.
Second year in Rosanero, same problems. Has his moments, but lacks experience and self esteem. Is not the man at CB and may never be the man at CB. Has also shown he’s not the man for the fullback spot either. Might need a loan spell if another CB comes in to gain experience, hoping it’ll work out the same way it did for Bertolo. If not, expect him to leave in June.
Had a difficult task in replacing fan favorite Mattia Cassani, but has not failed. He’s still young and inexperienced, but he has shown glimpses of his class even if he hasn’t had the most easy road with both his biggest fans (Mangia and Sogliano) leaving Palermo. If given the trust and support from the team and the fans, he might become a future star. Has grit by the pounds.
It seems like Palermo has bought that great Chievo player’s identical twin. Was a starter in Verona, but is scarcely used by both Mangia and Mutti. Might need a couple of matches to gain back confidence, but in the current situation there is no possibility for dangerous experiments. While I was writing this, he did play a good game against Genoa. Still, his future is the same as that of Munoz: if a new CB arrives between now and June, he might be gone by the end of the season.
What’s there to say about our left back? Nothing we haven’t already said. Most likely to leave in June, he still plays with the heart we expect from all our players. It’s harder for him to put in stellar performances, too, now that the team is failing, but at least he tries. Hero.
Everything that has been said about Balzaretti, also goes for Miggs. Without any doubt the best player this season, be it in defense or in midfield, he was always there. Lost his heart in Palermo, let’s hope it stays that way. Scored an awesome goal against Genoa, his tenth in Rosanero. All at home. Guy loves this city.
Not the man he was last year. Has moments where he’s one of the best midfielders in Serie A, but seems to be completely lost other games. Makes too many strange decisions, picks up too many cards and is sometimes a little to eager to force the decision by himself. Needs to step it up if he wants to remain the commanding force. Could benefit from the Pinilla-loan, as this could force Mutti to play him in an extra attacking role.
Still one of the most talented players in the squad, but snubbed by both Mangia and Mutti. Shipping him off to Chievo would’ve been another terrible decision by Zamparini, but ‘thankfully’ his knee decided that this was not the time. Needs to stay and start, because he most likely could be the best midfielder for this team.
Seems to have benefited from his time in Spain. Is not the one who will carry this team, but he contributes and fights for every ball. Still needs to be calmer and more focused, because he loses too many balls by playing recklessly. A very versatile midfielder who is a help to the Rosanero cause.
Unknown when he arrived at Palermo, and still pretty unknown to a lot of people outside of Palermo. Is facing stiff competition in the midfield department and had some injury problems, but he could be a dangerous player when healthy. Expect him to explode in the second half of the season.
Just like with Zahavi, he’s not a player people talk about, but things could’ve looked a lot more gloomy if we hadn’t had him around. With the right support in front, our attack could benefit a lot from his crosses and through balls.
Switches great games with not so great games, but what else is there to expect from a 19-year old that came out of nowhere? Has already notched 25 games on his belt for the team and will become a big player if given enough chances and playing time. Too bad for him, he’s barred by Migliaccio.
Very scarcely used by both coaches. Can play both in midfield or in defense, but hasn’t had a lot of chances to show what he can do. If his situation doesn’t improve, don’t expect his loan to be changed into an acquisition.
Picked up on the last day of the transfer window. His ‘unbelievable’ pace would help Palermo to conquer the flanks, but so far he has shown little more that at all his other clubs. Called a bust when he was signed, and has proven that since. Is close to joining Torino, which would be a good thing for both player and Palermo.
Francesco Della Rocca
Just like Alvarez and Barreto, he was picked up at the last day of the mercato. Has shown some positive points but should never ever be picked over Bacinovic or Acquah. Could benefit from a loan spell.
Luca Di Matteo
Hasn’t played a minute. Talented young player, but is barred by other, more experienced players in the team. Seems close to joining Varese.
Also still without any minute of playing time, for the same reasons as Di Matteo. Needs to be loaned out to gain experience.
I’m not a big fan of Donati and after one game there’s still not a lot to grade him on, but if he keeps playing like the way he played against Genoa, I might reconsider my opinions about him.
Together with Silvestre, Balza and Miggs the real leader of this team. Not as fast or sharp as he used to be, but an undeniable asset to this team. Could benefit from another powerful striker by his side. If he stays healthy, he could save this team’s season on his own. Close to taking Carlo Radice’s goalscoring record and without a doubt the most prolific Palermo player of the last 25 years.
Just like every year, fan favorite Pinilla suffered from a couple of injuries this season too. Gave everything he had, but couldn’t get his goal scoring motor running. Not that he was the only one, of course. Zampa didn’t like it, so he loaned Pinilla out to Cagliari. A very strange move, but it seems like Mauricio was already looking to leave Palermo.
Another year of injury woes. Insert the Pinilla injury text here. It seems he’ll never be able to finish an entire season without breaking or hurting something. Won’t be able to keep playing like this or will get sold.
Budan. Hmm. He’s not a Serie A striker, but he got a chance because of injuries and hasn’t complained. Needs to be let go as soon as another striker should arrive. Still, his celebration after his Genoa-goal gave me goosebumps.