Tullio M. Puglia
With his team underperforming, Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini acted in a time-honoured fashion and sacked coach Gasperini. His successor's opener just so happens to be a crucial relegation six-pointer against Pescara.
Palermo haven't won in their last ten in all competitions, including a defeat to Serie B side Hellas Verona in the Coppa Italia. They need to turn things around quickly, with Zamparini deeming Alberto Malesani the man for the job.
Yep, that's the same Alberto Malesani whose last Serie A match -- before he was sacked by Genoa -- ended in chaos, with the grifone ultras holding the players ransom on the pitch in protest of the team's awful performances. Excellent.
Malesani looks set to try and improve things by not changing much at all -- initially, at least. Early signs suggest he's going to stick with the not-so-watertight three man defence which has conceded 37 times in 23 games so far this campaign.
As for Pescara, they too are in a bit of a sticky situation, with the delfini coming into this game on the back of four straight defeats. They've scored only twice in those four games, with both of them being penalties in the loss to Bologna last week.
They are the lowest scorers in the division with 19 goals, while Palermo are only one goal better off. It is, however, the rosanero who are bottom of the table, with 17 points. Pescara are still in the relegation zone, though have three points more than the Sicilians.
It may well be, however, Pescara who are in an even more desperate situation. Malesani has a decent squad to work with, and should he get them gelling, they should have just about enough to survive. As for Pescara coach Cristiano Bergodi, he's trying to keep the dolphins afloat with a wafer-thin squad.
He's not helped here by a string of absentees for this one. Vladimir Weiss, Rômulo Eugênio Togni, Marco Capuano, Francesco Modesto and January arrival Ferdinando Sforzini are all out injured, while the wonderfully talented Colombian playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero still hasn't returned from his international commitments.
For Palermo, they have a trio of important players out too. Captain Fabrizio Miccoli is suspended, while Abel Hernández is -- as per usual -- injured, and looks set to sit in the stands with Josip Iličić. Andrea Mantovani is injured too, though he's less crucial to the team's performance.
Palermo Injuries and Suspensions:
Out: Abel Hernández, Andrea Mantovani (injured) Fabrizio Miccoli (suspended) In doubt: Josip Iličić
Pescara Injuries and Suspensions:
Out: Vladimir Weiss, Rômulo Eugênio Togni, Marco Capuano, Francesco Modesto, Ferdinando Sforzini (injured) Juanfer Quintero (international duty)
Match Date/Time: Sunday 10th February 2013 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. E.T.
Venue: Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo, Italy
TV: Premium Calcio, Sky Calcio 5 (Italy)