Palermo - Roma Preview: Luis Enrique's understrength side face the Rosanero looking to reignite European qualifying hope
The two Serie A sides hoping to finish the 2011-12 campaign in contention for continental competition go head-to-head at the weekend
By Adam Scime
Pisano, Migliaccio, Mantovani, Balzaretti
Barreto, Donati, Bertolo
Rosi, Kjaer, Heinze, Jose Angel
Simplicio, De Rossi, Gago
Bojan, Borini, Lamela
After being battered 4-0 on home soil last weekend, Palermo are aiming to bounce back and add another win to their formidable home record and make up ground on Roma, who they trail by four points in the Serie A standings as both teams still have an outside chance of ending the season in a Europa League qualifying spot.
Coach Bertolo Mutti welcomes the return of left-back Federico Balzaretti from suspension but is still without defensive midfielder Armin Bacinovic and centre-back Matias Silvestre, who is suffering from a right thigh problem. Josip Ilicic has had a sub-par season, but may edge Eran Zahavi to the playmaker position behind the two strikers.
Meanwhile, Giallorossi boss Luis Enrique has plenty of key absences to deal with following the 2-1 Rome derby loss to Lazio last weekend.
Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who picked up a controversial early sending off in that clash versus Edy Reja's side, is suspended along with striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and defender Marco Cassetti.
There is also bad news from the treatment table: Brazilian centre-back Juan looks set to skip the majority of the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, so Simon Kjaer could be in the starting XI against his former team, and ex-Lyon midfielder Miralem Pjanic is out for three weeks.
However, the most prominent name missing could be Roma captain Francesco Totti, the veteran had to leave training early on Thursday after suffering a mild strain to his right quadriceps muscle and is a doubt to feature in Sicily.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Palermo have earned 30 points at Stadio Renzo Barbera and are tied for the best points total on home soil this season along with Udinese.
- The Rosanero have not lost to Roma in Sicily since 2007 during league action, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat.
- Mutti's men had won in four in a row at home before losing to AC Milan in their last match.
- Roma have picked up eight red cards this season, more than any other team in Italy's top flight.
- Totti has only scored in two matches this season and has four goals in total, bagging doubles against Chievo and Cesena.
- The Giallorossi have only won two of their last eight Serie A matches.
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Top 3 Predictions
Palermo 0-2 Roma
- 17.1 %
Palermo 1-2 Roma
- 16.45 %
Palermo 2-1 Roma
- 9.03 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 30, 2013||Palermo 2 - Roma 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Nov 4, 2012||Roma 4 - Palermo 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 10, 2012||Palermo 0 - Roma 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 23, 2011||Roma 1 - Palermo 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 16, 2011||Roma 2 - Palermo 3|
|Mar 1, 2014||Palermo 2 - Bari 1||ITA2|
|Feb 22, 2014||Palermo 1 - Spezia 1||ITA2|
|Feb 15, 2014||Cesena 0 - Palermo 0||ITA2|
|Feb 8, 2014||Palermo 1 - Padova 0||ITA2|
|Feb 3, 2014||Empoli 1 - Palermo 1||ITA2|
|7||Francesco Della Rocca||Midfielder|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|30||Fabio Henrique Simplicio||Midfielder|
The Slovenia international has seen his stock drop significantly this season as he has struggled to impose himself as he did follwing his move from Maribor last season. With only two goals in 24 appearances in 2011-12, more production is needed from the player if he is to live up to his talent level and expectations.
The 20-year-old striker is going through a rich vein of form even if his club are not, having scored in their past three matches and made his Italy debut recently against USA. The former Chelsea man is really making a name for hismelf, and a goal or two in Sicily to help ease pressure on his coach would go a long way to further improving his blossoming reputation.
Based on the suspensions and injuries Roma have to deal with, as well as Palermo's impressive record at Stadio Renzo Barbera in 2011-12, the Sicilians will be relatively confident of adding another three points to their season tally.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed