Parma are enjoying one of their best seasons in recent memory. The crociati seem to have forgotten how to lose a game. Yet one of the five teams that managed to defeat Roberto Donadoni's team this season was Genoa. Almost five months later, they meet again. But this time, Parma is widely expected to come out on top.
Parma's main strength is a solid backline, and Gabriel Paletta is back in the team after suspension to create any goalscoring opportunities. But it is likely that Genoa will have to worry about how to protect their own goal most of all. Antonio Cassano and Jonathan Biabiany are enjoying playing together, and the combination of Cassano's flair and Biabiany's quickness have created headaches for every Serie A defense.
What might give some hope to Genoa fans is the fact that Parma are without two crucial central midfielders, Marco Marchionni and Walter Gargano. Donadoni might opt not to replace them with similar players, but to give another start to Ezequiel Schelotto, changing the formation from the usual 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1.
Since Gian Piero Gasperini took over, Genoa became a much more solid team. Normally known for his adventurous, attacking style, Gasperini took a more conservative approach this time. Like Parma, Genoa concede few goals, just four more than the team they face on Sunday. Gasperini remains a fan of a three-man defense, and it is likely that he'll use his favorite 3-4-3 formation again. However, one of those three forwards will probably be Paolo De Ceglie, who is more of a wing back than a forward, making it look more like a 3-5-2.
Despite their good season, Genoaare somewhat inconsistent. They lost to a relegation threatened Chievo in a disappointing performance, but then, just a week later, outplayed Juventus at home. They know how to play against big teams and have beaten Milan, Inter and Lazio, drew with Napoli and Fiorentina away and, made Juve work very hard for their inevitable win.
Parma injuries and suspensions:
Genoa injuries and suspensions:
Projected line ups:
Sunday March 23rd, 12:30 p.m. local, 7:30 a.m. ET
Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma
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