Bouncing backBy: Pepe | March 5th, 2011
Two teams will be meeting tomorrow who both have a bad memory to erase. Lazio merely suffered frustration last weekend whilst Palermo suffered total abject humiliation. Our beloved ex-manager Delio Rossi was relieved of his position on the rosanero bench where he leaves a legacy of good attacking football, positive memories and a slight feeling of disappointment and wondering what if? Sound familiar? I have no idea whether he’ll be kept in the hearts of the Sicilian aquile like he has been with the Roman aquile but I’m certain his contribution (not least to Pastore’s progress and Iličič’s seamless transition to Italian football) will not be soon forgotten. In his place is the man who’s ashamed of being bald, Serse Cosmi (anyone ever seen him without a hat?).
Before jumping into a quick look at the ‘new’ Palermo, let’s quickly look at how our boys in blue did last week. We had a very tough away day in Sardinia at Cagliari where we were sent back home with nil points, despite really not deserving to lose (nor really deserving to win). I am wholly convinced that had Andre Dias not had his unluckiest/stupidest (your pick) moment in a Lazio shirt then we would not have lost; a draw would have been the bare minimum and a win would have been achievable. But alas Dias did score a comical (for the neutral) own goal and the match was very predictable from then on. If anyone knows Donadoni’s management style then they know it has sweet F.A. to do with his playing style back when he was the world’s most exciting winger. The bus was parked in front of goal, Cagliari barely had any semblance of forward play and they sat back and waited; unfortunately for us they are actually very competent at keeping a clean sheet and well if we score the goal for them then…
All is forgiven, I love this man.
The forwards cannot be absolved of blame though, Floccari briefly impressed when he came on but didn’t do enough and I don’t remember Zárate doing anything threatening. I shan’t criticise Kozák as he is essentially a youth player being asked to do an experienced player’s job, it is normal for him to be inconsistent, him playing is not his fault but the club’s. I also still think that Matuzalém is not imposing himself on the game like he could. I understand he’s meant to hold but when we’re losing it doesn’t help if he passes the ball on from the halfway line and then remains static. We’re losing already, take a few steps up the pitch, be an outlet and take some responsibility.
So on to Palermo; they say a wounded beast is the most dangerous as it has nothing to lose. They have Balzaretti back which is a boon for them defensively and offensively and Miccoli is still out which means they are likely to play the same team as last week which took the 0-7 from Udinese. This result obviously does not mean that Palermo are now rubbish, we remember the struggle they gave us for our win earlier in the season and they will have the predictable new manager ‘bounce’ and we’ll have to be more focused than usual as they will definitely be looking to avenge us and regain some pride.
How are we shaping up for our last game before the derby? Not great injury wise unfortunately. We have seen the devastating news that Andre Dias is definitely out for tomorrow night’s game and is probably out for the derby too but we’ll cover that blow next week if it’s certain. Muslera has an outside chance of playing tomorrow but only if he’s at 100% as we understandably don’t wish to risk him before next week so be prepared to see Berni again. Guglielmo Stendardo will be stepping in next to Biava and our usual full-backs. It seems that Garrido will be on the bench which makes me wonder if we could have potentially played Garrido at left back and stuck Radu in the middle next to Biava, but maybe we’re not ready for that yet. The Ledesma – Matuzalém partnership stays in place, we don’t know whether that’s by choice or not though as Brocchi is still injured (and may also miss the derby) and we will have a once-again revamped midfield bank in front of those two. Zárate is brought back into the fold to play in the still-unfit Mauri’s left attacking midfield position. I feel this could work if he’s given the freedom to play instead of being given defensive duties and Sculli will be tracking back on the right wing (which is needed to counter Lichti’s bombing runs) whilst Mauro can roam whilst Radu sits. Finally we see the return of Sergio Floccari to the starting line-up and while this is certainly a welcome sign, it’ll be a shame to see Libor’s run in the side come to an end.
A quick conclusion to make here is that the injury crisis which I suggested in January might be one of the things that could undo our campaign may well be afoot. The loss of Mauri has seen to a drop in quality of play, an extended loss of Dias as well would be disastrous. When you consider the injuries to Diakité, Brocchi, Rocchi, Garrido it shows our squad may be large but in terms of quality a few injuries can hurt us. It’s to be expected but a more efficient organisation (in terms of team management) would be prepared for this by having and more importantly utilising the products of a youth academy. I certainly shan’t start this debate but it vexes me endlessly to know the potential talent coming out of Formello but that isn’t being used. Who knows if Perpetuini or Faraoni could have been useful in this situation? Is it so unfeasible for Barreto or Ceccarelli to step up and have a go? They can’t be worse than Foggia anyway.
In other news Libor Kozák has been rewarded for his fine recent form with a new contract extension which will tie him to us until 2015 (with I imagine an increase in salary)
Apologies for the short blog this week but my internet is out which means a) spending far too much time in my local Wi-Fi café and b) I’ll be unable to watch the game tomorrow night barring a miracle so I’ll be relying on you good people to give me a fine round-up of the events and your conclusions from the game, as you always do. Finally to all those who wrote an application to join me here, thanks but I have no info yet as to what will happen as I certainly am not the boss around here.
S.S. Lazio vs. U.S. Città di Palermo
Sunday 6 March