Three wins in four matches for Palermo has changed the story for the Sicilian side.
Let’s take a look at how the Rosanero have found themselves in their current turn of form.
Just five games into the season it was all but expected Beppe Iachini would lose his job after only managing to pick up two points combined with back-to-back high scoring defeats from Lazio and Empoli. President Maurizio Zamparini even referred to Beppe Iachini as his son – which usually means “goodnight, goodbye, stay by your phone because we will most likely call you back if your replacement starts struggling”. The notoriously hot headed chairman shocked the whole world of calcio when he didn’t quite pull the trigger on Beppe Iachini.
One of the key reasons behind supporting the manager that guided Palermo to the record point haul in Serie B was the unavailability of certain figures at the beginning of the season. In particular, the duo of highly rated summer signing Pipo Gonzalez – who was awaiting clearance after his non-EU signing from USA’s Columbus Crew and recovering from an injury – and Ezequiel Munoz who was missing through injury as well. The truth is, support in defence was more than needed. It wasn’t until the players were united together that Palermo recorded their first three points of the season in matchday six with a 2-1 win against Cesena.
Presently, one of the biggest problems that looks to have solved itself, at least in the latest match against Milan, was the disengagement between the midfield and the attackers. Iachini, ever the tinker-man, has trialed the alteration of his beloved 3-5-2 to pull together the front line and midfield with a 3-4-1-2 approach which seems to have at the very least stopped the “high-ball up-field” mentality. That former approach tended to leave Paolo Dybala alone to fight for headers against stronger defensive opposition.
After all the minor alterations that took place, it was a sizable portion of finally finding a determination to see through a 90 minute game. Yes, a bit of luck (or “unluck”) also played a heavy hand for the opposition in the earlier games of the season. Palermo were unable to find a win even after some impressive performances; nevertheless, late goals are not consistently conceded through bad luck. Palermo have been re-energised since the international break. The previous attitude that was best (or in this case more fittingly worst) seen in Paolo Dybala’s face against Lazio has vanished. The players have finally found the mentality to survive in Serie A and it was displayed superbly in the first half against Milan.
Looking forward after all these successes lately, Palermo should realistically be aiming to take a minimum of four points from their next three fixtures: Udinese (H), Genoa (A) and Parma (H). The points would help solidify a mid-table place for the Rosanero in what could potentially be three awkward fixtures. The great news is that the club has found some confidence as well as results. Whether that continues only time will tell.