The key word to Sunday’s match: desperation. It’s quite early to use the word but Palermo’s season seems be hanging in the balance come Sunday.
Palermo, fresh off a nine-day withdrawal in Zamparini’s backyard of Friuli should be fresh, well rested, and most importantly healthy. The welcomed return of Ezequiel Muñoz should be seen and hopefully his presence will aid a back line that has surrendered the second most goals in Serie A at 14, trailing only Parma’s 16. Along with Muñoz, Edgar Barreto should be coming back from an injury that saw him miss the previous match at Empoli. The Rosanero should have been able to take advantage of a weaker opponent in Empoli, but instead they were outclassed and it proved easy to break down an injury-ridden back line and finish easy balls past Sorrentino.
The pleasant surprise this season has been the emergence of Franco Vazquez. Vasquez has come a long way since he was signed, and labeled the heir to Javier “El Flaco” Pastore, to a journeyman outcast and back to his solid and dependable form this season. Vazquez netted his first Serie A goal earlier this year and is currently the Rosanero leader in goals with three. Three goals in six games is not setting the league on fire, but it’s the little things he does that doesn’t end up on the stat sheet that makes him so special. Vazquez carries himself in such a role that is beyond his 25 years. He has senior leadership and gets the best from his teammates and when he doesn’t he will let you know. Vazquez’s skill and footwork has played a role in almost every single scoring opportunity for the Rosanero. Whether he’s dribbling through the entire midfield or playing a long through ball over the top to the wonder kid Andrea Belotti, Vazquez has so far been Palermo’s most important player. And if Palermo is able to achieve salvation, it will be because of the feet of Franco Vazquez.
This fixture plays a pivotal role in the season of Palermo going forward. A loss would most likely mean the end of the road for manager Beppe Iachini and the appointment of a caretaker to oversee the safety of the Rosanero. These are trying times. Just this past week Sporting Director Franco Ceravolo rescinded his contract, leaving a vacancy with less than two months to go until the January market. Dario Baccin, the youth director at Palermo has been primed to take his spot. The move makes sense, as it would be an easy transition to hire someone in house. A return to the fold from Giorgio Perinetti isn’t entirely out of the question either.
Palermo does face a tough matchup, given their recent run of form and injuries. Cesena will field a formidable lineup that will challenge Palermo. New signing Hugo Almeida (free agent signing), will most likely not make his debut, as it has only been a few days since he put pen to the paper. Regardless, Cesena has other weapons such as striker Guido Marilungo, promising goalkeeper Nicolia Leali and a familiar and beloved face in Franco Brienza who knows Palermo all too well. If Palermo can hold at the back, and win the possession battle they should be able to feed off the Rosanero faithful for a much-needed first victory in Serie A. Either way, it’is shaping up to be an early season relegation battle as only three points separate the two sides near the bottom of the table. Hopefully, the odds are in Palermo’s favor. Or, check them out for yourself over at William Hill football betting and get in on the action.