It's almost certain the match between Genoa and Catania won't be the best, or most refined, or the most elegant expression of calcio you'll watch this weekend. Yet this game has striking implications for both sides.
It's obvious, of course, that Genoa are in desperate need of all three points. Despite Eros Pisano's header giving the rossoblu the lead at Cagliari last weekend, the home side came back to win 2-1, stalling Genoa's unbeaten run at three games. That means the relegation zone once again -- and the need for Luigi Delneri to crank all the rusty wheels in his brain, searching for some way to get his side those points.
What's less apparent is just how important the three points would be to Catania. Should the rest of the results fall into line, the elefanti could move up to sixth place, even with Roma. Catania may only have the most outside of chances for reaching Europe, but how impressive would that be for the Sicilian side? The highest they've ever finished is 8th in Serie A.
Rolando Maran faces an uphill battle, however, in getting the rest of Serie A to take his side seriously. Without Francesco Lodi, upon whom the team have been counting to produce spectacular goals from set piece situations, Maran must rely upon his volatile front line. While Pablo Barrientos and Alejandro Gómez, who flank Gonzalo Bergessio, are indisputably talented, they're also inconsistent. It's tough for opponents to see Catania as threatening when so many of their shots are off target.
With both teams so eager to get three points, it's likely we'll see not a free-flowing attack, but overly cautious play. The end result seems inevitable: a drab, scoreless draw.
Genoa Injuries and Suspensions
Catania Injuries and Suspensions
Perhaps Catania would do well to control Lodi's temper. The midfielder continues to sit out a ban for taking a swipe at Riccardo Meggiorini's head. Maran better have had someone else practicing free kicks and penalties this week.
Match Date / Time: Sunday, January 20 at 3 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
TV: Sky Calcio 3