Palermo are near full-strength for an all-important clash away to promotion hopefuls Cesena.
Cesena – Palermo
Saturday, February 15, 2014 15.00
Stadio Dino Manuzzi
I didn’t get to see any of last week’s game against lowly Padova, but by all accounts we made hard work of what should have been a routine victory.
Palermo will certainly need to be on their game and be more ruthless this week against promotion hopefuls Cesena. Unbeaten in their last five matches, Cesena are grinding out results, which is keeping them within touching distance of the automatic promotion spots and just seven points away from the Rosanero.
Cesena have been hard to beat all season, but they’re a particularly tough nut to crack on their home pitch, having suffered just two defeats at the Dino Manuzzi this term in Serie B. Somewhat surprisingly, they have only won five of their 12 home matches – drawing the other five.
The best way to describe the Cavallucci Marini is that they are an organised side but one that lacks firepower. This troublesome combination has resulted in a lot of draws. There have been 11 stalemates involving Cesena this season already.
The good news is that with the Rosanero attacking force, Palermo is one of the few teams in Serie B with individual match-winners that should pose a threat, no matter who plays up top.
When the two sides last met back in September, the game in Sicily was decided by a single goal. Palermo came from behind to edge it out 2-1. Two goals in eight minutes from Kyle Lafferty and Abel Hernandez were the difference-makers. Saturday’s clash will probably be equally as tight.
The squad has already been announced and the main absentee for Palermo remains Andrea Belotti. The good news is the return of captain Edgar Barreto and Paulo Dybala, which strengthen Beppe Iachini’s options. If match fit, it is expected that Barreto would slot straight back into the starting eleven to partner Enzo Maresca in the middle of the park.
The stakes are certainly high. This is a game that Cesena have to win (or, at worst, not lose) as a defeat would leave them ten points adrift from the Sicilians.
From the Rosanero point of view, Iachini says the team is focused on the games and not the table. A win tomorrow against one of the club’s closest challengers would be massive and puts clear daylight between the Rosanero and one of the sides in the chasing pack.
The stats point towards it being a tight game and the best case scenario would be a similar result to when the sides last met!
Goalkeepers: Fulignati, Sorrentino, Ujkani.
Defenders: Andelkovic, Daprelà, Lazaar, Morganella, Munoz, Pisano, Terzi, Vitiello.
Midfield: Barreto, Bolzoni, Di Gennaro, Embalo, Maresca, Ngoyi, Stevanovic, Troianiello, Vazquez, Verre.
Forwards: Dybala, Hernandez, Lafferty