It’s time for Palermo to find out where they stack up in Serie A.
Will the smooth sailing and victories continue or will there be rough waters ahead for the Sicilians? Only four points separate the Rosanero from the Zebrette on paper, but the experience is where the teams differ.
Antonio “Toto” Di Natale is the beloved son of all Udinese faithful, and how could he not be? He has written the history for the Zebrette since his arrival in 2004. He has been the leading scorer in Serie A in 2010 and 2011, as well as the Italian Football of the Year in 2010. At 37 years old and retirement lurking, he hasn’t lost a step. In ten Serie A appearances this campaign, Di Natale has found the back of the net six times while adding three assists. The key to this match is how Palermo plan to stop Antonio Di Natale and the Udinese attack.
A possible answer to how to stop the attack from Beppe Iachini is to switch back to his beloved 3-5-1-1 formation and add depth and strength to the midfield to combat the strong Udinese attack. And where does that leave Enzo Maresca? After a man of the match performance against Milan, will Iachini play the hot hand or resort back to Luca Rigioni? Maresca was absolutely masterful in his performance at the San Siro. He directed and dictated the play and even though Palermo did not win the possession battle, Maresca ran down every ball in an attempt to win it, as well as doing enough defensively to hold up the Milan attack. Iachini can also opt for a trio of Rigoni, Edgar Barreto and Maresca while dropping Francesco Bolzoni back to the bench. It’ll be interesting, nonetheless, to see how it pans out.
This match has large implications for each side. Udinese have long had the Rosanero’s number and could be catapulted into the top five with three points at the Renzo Barbera. Should Palermo see all three points, it would do them a huge favor for survival in Serie A. A win would move the Rosanero from the lower third of the table to mid table and put them well on their way to the magical number of 40 points (a number which almost guarantees survival).
When these two sides square off, two scenarios could realistically play out. It will either be a wide-open game that sees lots of back and forth play, alla Napoli; or, it will be a tight, compact game that is tough to break open – a game that sees many fouls, yellow cards and sloppy play. For the sake of the Rosanero fans, lets hope it is a wide-open beautiful game of Calcio.
Maurzio Zamparini has long lamented his fortune, or lack thereof, against the club that resides in his hometown. He made it no secret that he hopes the tide turns against Udinese this weekend. But will he get it?