When In Rome: Roma – Palermo

The saying is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do…” For Zeman’s Roma, that means to play well for portions of a match before losing the plot and the lead. How appropriate is it, then, that Palermo seem to have the same problem? Roma are coming off of two straight matches in which they had the lead, only to give it up and lose in the end. Palermo are coming off a game against Milan in which a 2-0 lead was squandered and although they didn’t lose, it certainly felt like a draw was as bad as a defeat.

Zemanlandia has yet to take off in the high-pressure cooker known as Roma. The characteristics of a typical Zeman squad are there though. Prior to the weekend’s games, the Giallorossi were tops in the league in both goals scored and goals given up. There are rumors of discord in the locker room and while that may be true, Zeman’s team is a byproduct of the players at his disposal. After all, Zeman’s back line is entirely new…not only to Roma but Serie A in general (Balzaretti and the newly-converted back Taddei aside). Nonetheless, he has a fearsome attacking force, with the evergreen Francesco Totti, Italy international Pablo Osvaldo and budding starlet Erik Lamela and a hungry Destro ready in the wings. As with any Roma side, though, the fans and the city demand instant results. After all, results that may have satisfied half the league last season, ultimately doomed Zeman’s predecessor Luis Enrique. Zeman is on the hot seat and the last two losses do little to help his cause. Adding to this pressure is their terrible home record (only one win) and the derby against Lazio next week, meaning that Roma theoretically have a must-win game on their hands.

Meanwhile, Gasperini has brought some steadiness to this Palermo side even if the wins still haven’t arrived. The team has a style of play and have looked very sharp as of late. Yet, the Rosanero are still struggling with the ability to close out games. It’s what has haunted them the most this season when you consider that games against Cagliari, Genoa and Milan could easily have been wins. The Serie A table is still very short but regardless of whether Palermo belong in the bottom three or not (there are worse teams in the league), the hemorrhaging of points needs to stop. Roma represent a more difficult matchup than Milan and it comes away from home. Gasperini’s men need an excellent game plan and even better execution. Naturally, that strategy will revolve around solid defense and a quick counterattack. Everyone knows that Zeman’s team will be the one dictating the tempo in this match. The holes they leave on the counter, however, will need to be exploited.

Probable Palermo Lineup

Munoz – Von Bergen – Garcia
Morganella – Kurtic – Barreto – Mantovani
Ilicic – Brienza

Palermo bench: Benussi; Cetto, Milanovic, Labrin, Pisano; Bertolo, Giorgi, Rios, Viola, Zahavi; Budan, Dybala

As with any Roma versus Palermo affair, there will be goals. It isn’t just because this is a Zeman match but Palermo have conceded a goal to Roma in the last 14 matches. It would be a miracle if this game were to finish without a goal. The Rosanero last beat Roma at the Olimpico on April 16, 2011 in an entertaining 3-2 affair. Many expect this to be a showdown between the two legendary captains, Francesco Totti and Fabrizio Miccoli, but if Palermo are to do well on Sunday night, they’ll need the role players to step up in a big way.


18 thoughts on “When In Rome: Roma – Palermo

  1. Great set-up for the match. I’m curious/worried how much we’ll miss Donati. Hopefully we’ll get off to a good start because, as you say, Roma can get rattled at home. Forza Palermo !

  2. This is the worst Palermo performance this sezon! If they would play 3-10-2 than maybe they could enter the 16 meter area.
    The idea was that playing 3-5-2 would create control of the midelfield, since Roma plays 4-3-3. Well, you stil need players who can pass to do that.

  3. I think Muñoz collided with Ujkani because Osvaldo pushed him. Anyway, it’s been a terrible game for Palermo, there’s no attitude. Took 44 minutes to create a good chance.

  4. Whatever Palermo has been building up so far of the seson, now has fallen apart. Negative for Gasperini- you don”t change model of playing when team shows some signs of growth. You don”t leave a player in rising form on bench- meaning Iličić. The only good think today was that he scored. So there is now much less presure on him from now onwards.
    But…. this was seria B performance in general. It is going to be hard to come back, where the team was before that game. Catastrofy in wrong moment in time.

  5. ! really dont know what happened to Palermo for this match. Why wouldnt Gasperini put in Viola? yes, hes young and inexperienced in the top flight but we were DESPERATE for a regista! The whole team didnt start clicking till we were 3-0 down.

  6. Didn’t see the game because I was “skydiving”* but the good news, maybe, is that Ilicic scored, which is his first Serie A goal since November 27 last year. Maybe that will help him out some…

    *By skydiving I mean sitting on the ground for 5 hours hoping for clouds to clear up so we could jump. No dice.

  7. Rios is a total disappointment. Guy sucks in my opinion. He loses the ball frequently and is a horrible replacement for a extremely missed Migliaccio. I also think we should give Viola a chance. Everyone is calling for it. i got a feeling he is gonna go out on loan in January and tear it up somewhere like a Chievo or some shit. January can not come sooner!!! we have such shit right now. we need someone who can score a fucking goal and someone who can prevent them in defense. we need to spend some fucking money or i fear we are gonna be in serie B next season (NO CLUE WHO THE FUCK WE ARE GONNA BUY). Im excited for Dybala to start this weekend. just watching him play in the ends of the last two matches he has a lot of excitement with his playing style. lots of energy.

  8. I feel a similar frustration but I can hardly pin it on Rios. True, he’s better when allowed to go forward like he did earlier in the year and scored a nice goal on a set-up from Miccoli. But now with Donati moving to the backline he seems a little lost as a controlling midfielder. Even though we didn’t get the wins we shouls have I keep reminding myself we were unbeaten in four prior to the Roma debacle and hope for better things v. Sampdoria on Sunday. Forza Palermo !

  9. Now weve lost Mantovani too….

    BRING IN OUR YOUTH PLAYERS. NOW IS THE TIME FOR THEM TO STEP UP. PRESTIA IN DEFENSE. SANSEVERINO IN ATTACK(or Zerbo, but i cant remember if we still have him or if we sold/loaned him).

    Really though, we need to do something here. At least the primavera squad players will want to prove their worth and thats what may hold us over till at least January.

  10. Can we get Franco Vazquez back in January? And has Zahavi recovered from injury yet? If Ilicic cops an injury we are in significantly deep shite.

    • Zahavi is back but…hes not exactly a world beater..

      Not sure about Vazquez. Since it is a loan deal, i believe we can cancel it and pay Vallecano for cutting it early, but i wouldnt do that unless we were selling Ilicic.

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