On Monday it’s top versus second in what is unquestionably the biggest match of the season so far in Serie B.
Empoli – Palermo
Monday, February 3, 2014 20.30
Stadio Carlo Castellani
Barreto & Belotti Injury Doubts As The Top Two Go Head-To-Head
The Empoli match comes at a decent time for Palermo and is the perfect opportunity to respond to last week’s disappointing goalless home draw with Modena.
That draw felt like a defeat. It was a game Palermo should have won on the balance of play and the chances created. The fact that none of our players suffered serious injury and that we retained top spot following Empoli’s surprise defeat to Latina tempered that feeling somewhat.
When the two sides last met back in August, Empoli ran out 2-1 victors at the Barbera – a result that was arguably the start of the end for Gattuso. A lot has changed since then, which sets up Monday’s game nicely. Bar a dodgy spell in November, Palermo have been on a decent run. And to be fair to Empoli, they have kept pace despite fairly inconsistent results themselves.
Francesco Tavano is one of the main reasons why Empoli are second in the table. The veteran striker has 13 goals this season and will pose the main threat on Monday.
There will be more clarity on team news as Monday draws near, especially regarding the availability of Edgar Barreto and Andrea Belotti, who are both doubts. They would be big losses, but even if (arguably) the Rosanero’s two most influential players so far this season are unavailable, Palermo are keen to get a result.
Now that the transfer window is closed, the overall team picture is clearer. After a lengthy negotiation process, Palermo finally signed promising young wingback Achraf Lazaar from Varese. The club managed to hold onto its stars like Stefano Sorrentino, Abel Hernandez and company but were unfortunately unable to find new homes for Armin Bacinovic and Aljaz Struna. There is still a chance they could be offloaded, but it would be outside of Italy.
For Serie B, there is a lot of quality in the team, even with absentees. Putting my neck on the line but I reckon we’ll win 2-1.
Lastly, a word out to the Cuore Emigrati crew. It’s brilliant to see support for the team at away games. Respect to you all.