Palermo vs. Genoa, Preview: The eagles host the griffins in avian relegation dogfight

Tullio M. Puglia

With Genoa lurking just a place outside the relegation zone and Palermo sat firmly in it, Saturday's evening clash at the Renzo Barbera will have important ramifications at the bottom of the table.

After sacking coach Gian Piero Gasperini, Palermo's results haven't taken off quite as the aquile would have hoped under Alberto Malesani. Two fairly uninspiring draws against Pescara and Chievo have left them rock bottom of the Serie A table, now six points behind safety and their opponents in this match, Genoa.

The grifone also have had a recent change on the bench, though theirs has worked out rather better. Under Davide Ballardini they are still unbeaten, despite having taken on four tough games in Juventus, Lazio, Parma and Udinese. Genoa's recent resurgence has seen them move out of the relegation zone, and they are no longer looking like a side set for Serie B. A loss here, of course, and that could all change.

Genoa haven't won away in Palermo in almost five years, and all of Palermo's victories this season have come at the Renzo Barbera. Unfortunately for the rosanero, they've only managed to do that thrice all season, and they're yet to win a game this year.

Coach Malesani looks set to continue his formation fluctuation with a switch to a 4-3-1-2 here, with January arrival Mauro Boselli looking like he's going to spearhead the attack alongside Fabrizio Miccoli. That'd mean there'd probably be no place in the starting eleven for either Diego Fabbrini or Alejandro Faurlín. Disappointing, as these two new signings could be much more offensively effective than the current options.

Adopting the "if it ain't broken" principle, Genoa's boss Ballardini will probably start his 3-5-1-1 again with the impressive Andrea Bertolacci buzzing around behind Marco Borriello. There's unlikely to be a spot for last season's Serie B wonderkid Ciro Immobile, who continues to misfire in the top flight.

Palermo have their two long-term injuries, Abel Hernández and Andrea Mantovani out, while Genoa's injury list is a little longer, though isn't greatly damaging to their chances in this match.

Palermo Injuries and Suspensions

Abel Hernández and Andrea Mantovani (injured)

Genoa Injuries and Suspensions

Mattia Cassani, Boško Janković, Antonio Floro Flores, Enis Nadarević, Rubén Olivera and Antonio Donnarumma (injured)

Match Date / Time: Saturday, February 16 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy), RAI Internazionale (U.S.)

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