From disappointing to disgraceful, the season of Palermo can be summed up in that short participial phrase. If there is any ounce of dignity left among the players who have failed to hold the colors high, it must be exhibited in its last reserves on Saturday. There are no lofty objectives left to play for, there is only one defining moment left for this club: a win on derby day.
Yes, it was always going to be a transitional year with the majority of last year’s starters sporting new colors. Yes, it was always going to be difficult when Zamparini resorted to his customary sackings at several intervals during (and before) the season. Yet, at some point along the way, this team lost its pride and its fight. What other excuse is there for the pitiful showings against Cesena, Parma and former crumbling foes like Milan and Juventus? Make no mistake, this is not a claim for victories but rather disapproval for how the Rosanero went down without a whimper.
These games, this season has proved there are players who are not worthy of the shirt, but they have one last chance to honor it in a meaningful way. The derby against Catania is the marquee match that every Rosanero fan has circled on their calendar. Saturday’s match will have a more fervent flavor to it. The rivals have had a dream season – the best in recent memory and perhaps the best of all-time. They’ve basked in the self-indulgent “glory” of sitting above their older brothers in the standings. Every week, a different Catania player points out their spot in the table – not to talk about a potential Europa League spot or anything of measurable significance – to say “We’re higher than Palermo.” It’s a phrase that delights a fan base that has not had anything to celebrate other than survival in Serie A for another year.
Miccoli summed it up best: “For three months they’ve only talked about the fact that they’re ahead of us in the table and I don’t like it. In five years, I’ve never said that we ended ahead of them by 15 or 20 points, or the fact that we were in Rome last year (Coppa Italia final), not to mention that in the last few years, we’ve been in contention for Europe while they haven’t been. It’s been months that they’ve talked because they may be three points ahead of us this year.” These are the words of a captain and one who has not abandoned the ship.
Miccoli is the man that is needed to stir all the passion left in the souls of these lifeless individuals who have contributed to this poor season. The players need to awaken and leave it all on the pitch on Saturday, if for one last attempt at making something in this forgettable season worthwhile. No, the supporters have not abandoned this team that has, at times, let them down. And tomorrow, every Rosanero supporter will spur this team to victory once more. Honor us with a performance worthy of approval. It’s all we ask. Forza Palermo. Sempre.
Munoz – Milanovic – Silvestre – Mantovani
Migliaccio – Donati – Barreto
Miccoli – Abel
Bench: Tzorvas; Labrin; Acquah, Vazquez, Zahavi; Budan
There is plenty of guesswork surrounding the lineup, from formation to figures. Yet, as Miccoli stated earlier in the week, the Rosanero need to impose their style of play. The best way to do that is to use the 4-3-1-2 that had successes, especially at the Renzo Barbera.
The key questions revolve around positional battles: Pisano or Munoz? Eros is suffering from his lingering injury, but he may gut it out. It’ll be a decision made Saturday morning. Migliaccio will tough it out after being rested for a couple games. His grit has been sorely missed and is a welcome return. Does Mutti opt for Ilicic or Vazquez? All signs suggest Bortolo will go with the Palermo “veteran” versus the newcomer. Finally, who pairs Miccoli up top? The slight advantage seems to be with Abel, but it’d almost be better if Budan got the nod, if only for the passion/anger he exhibited versus Parma.
Regardless of who starts, all the players must give everything in this game. Show us some pride, show us some passion, show us some fight. Do all that and we will be satisfied, no matter the result.
LA SICILIA VERA SIAMO NOI!!!!!!!!!!!!