It’s time to look at the Palermo defense and understand who Silvio Bandini has at his disposal.
In Part I, we examined the organizational structure, the coach and the goalkeepers on the squad. As a unit, the Rosanero back line has allowed 27 goals on the season, 6th best in group C of the Serie C table. As mentioned in the last match recap, it’s the splits that are astounding in this regard: Palermo has the 2nd best defensive mark at home, only allowing six goals total at the Renzo Barbera, trailing only Monopoli’s five. Outside of Palermo, the Rosanero are definitively towards the bottom of the pack as opponents have scored 21 times against them.
There are 12 defenders on the roster. Yet, there is a clear hierarchy in starters, reserves and those who are on the outskirts of the team.
- Ivan Marconi – purchased from Monza before last season, the 32 year old central defender has been a mainstay in the Palermo defense up until the arrival of Baldini. He still has started most matches for the current manager, but he was on the bench for the previous two matches. All 17 appearances this season have been as a starter. The 6-footer is one of the better defenders on the team, so expect to see him in future lineups through the remainder of the season.
- Edoardo Lancini – the 27 year old has been with the club since its rebirth in 2019. He was an unmovable starter in the Serie D campaign but moved to a reserve role last season with only 13 appearances. This season, his role has gravitated more towards a starter except for a five match stretch in the middle of the year. Under Baldini, he seems to have resumed his place in the starting XI on the right side of the middle pairing. He has a goal and two assists in 19 appearances this term.
- Alessio Buttaro – just 19 years old, Buttaro arrived from the Roma youth team. After not making the active roster over the first three weeks, he became a starter through December despite his youth. During that period, he only missed two matches because of suspension. Unfortunately for Buttaro, Baldini has seemingly preferred a different central pairing going forward. The young Roman has merely earned spots starts or has not been called up altogether. Last match against Virtus Francavilla, he got his first assist on the season after being fouled in the box leading to Matteo Brunori’s lone goal from the penalty spot.
- Maxime Giron – the 27 year old Frenchman joined Palermo this offseason on a free transfer. He spent last season with another Serie C squad, Bisceglie, that was relegated at the end of the term. He started all season long for that team and has carried that over with the Rosanero this season. Giron has alternated between two positions: left back and left mid. At the beginning of the campaign, he was deployed strictly as a left midfielder. Under Baldini, he is primarily a left back and has made consistent appearances, whether as a starter or off the bench. There is a lot of competition on the left side of the defense, so his versatility has benefitted his playing time. He got his first goal of the season in the beginning of February against Juve Stabia.
- Marco Perrotta – a nice loan signing (with option) from Bari during the offseason, the 28 year old gives Palermo a lot of variety in the defense. The left-footer has been deployed across every position in the back line except as a right back. Primarily, he has been a central defender but has shown he can play comfortably as a left back if needed. He has 21 league appearances on the year, 18 of those as a starter.
- Andrea Accardi – a lot of words could be spent on this born-and-bred Palermitano. The 26 year old is the only holdover from the old Palermo. He chose to stay with the club on its rebirth in Serie D and has rightfully been team captain in numerous matches. He was a mainstay in the Serie D campaign and last season’s Serie C campaign. Another versatile player, Andrea has been used as a central defender, a right back and an occasional foray as a right midfielder. The biggest issue for Accardi this year has been his availability. An adductor injury forced him to miss the first 14 matches of the season. He appears to be Baldini’s first choice as Palermo’s right back. Let’s hope he is over his ailments and can continue in Rosanero for the foreseeable future.
- Roberto Crivello – another Palermitano who joined the club in its restart in Serie D. Crivello has had an interesting path over the last couple of years. Similar to Accardi, he was a starter in Serie D in 2019 and in Serie D in 2020. Palermo wanted to sell him last offseason and made it clear there was no space on the roster for him this year. Unfortunately, an expiring contract coupled with the player’s salary was not easily digestible for any other clubs in C or D and Palermo were not able to find any suitors. So, he began the season quite literally off the team. He trained on his own and was not called up until the end of October. Basically out of necessity, the club brought him back into the fold and he has had a reserve role from then on. Crivello has been used primarily as a left back or a left midfielder although he can be used as a central defender if necessary. He has earned five starts but most of his appearances (7) are as a substitute.
- Masimiliano Doda – the 21 year old Albanian has been with the club since Serie D. Unfortunately for him, his role has decreased season over season since then. After 21 appearances in Serie D, Doda only has 19 league appearances in Serie C over the last two seasons combined. His main position is as a right back but the majority of his playing time this year has come as a right midfielder. He has not had much of a run under Baldini who has preferred other options.
- Bubacarr Marong – the 22 year old Gambian is a feel-good story. His family emigrated to Sicily and he was able to earn a trial at Palermo in the weeks prior to the Serie D season. He earned a contract with the club and has shown glimpses of potential over the past 3 years. He became a starter under Giacomo Filippi at the very end of last season and in the Serie C playoffs as a central defender. Unfortunately, this season, playing time has been very hard to come by. The club tried to loan him out over the winter transfer window but a move fell through at the last minute. Look for him to be loaned out this summer.
- Michele Somma – a lesson in life in Serie C. Somma was purchased from Deportivo La Coruña in preparation for Palermo’s debut Serie C season. He was given an expensive contract as a motive to entice him to join the club. He was a starter for most of last season before losing his job to Marong. He wasn’t even called up for the club’s playoff matches outside of one match on the bench out of necessity. This offseason, the club notified him that they would be looking to sell him just like Crivello. Much like Crivello, his contract was way too costly for other Serie C teams (and doesn’t expire until June 2023!). He was not on the roster for the first 20 matches until Baldini decided to reintegrate him into the team. Since Baldini’s arrival, Somma has worked his way back into the picture with a start and two sub appearances in the last five games. Nevertheless, for a club that needs to spend wisely, the Somma signing has been an abject failure.
- Enrico Mauthe – the 17 year old Palermitano was promoted to the first team this season. He has only seen five minutes of action this campaign amid 12 call-ups. One to potentially watch for the future but there’s no idea what his talent level is at this point in time.
To be continued…