Saturday, May 16, 2009

Genoa heads to final three weeks against Chievo

With three remaining weeks in their extraordinary Serie A campaign, Genoa welcomes Chievo to Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday afternoon. Any attempt to label the year pales in comparison to the actual accomplishments as Genoa turned the corner from the problematic 90's, re-emerged in Serie A last year and now sits on the cusp of winning a berth in the Europa League.

Naturally, as is so often the case, success has brought many admirers and with the end of the year in sight rumours are rampant of the future of talisman striker Diego Milito, Giandomenico Mesto and Boško Janković to name only a few. Speculation is futile at this point but as the Footballing world grapples with its financial underpinnings being shook out, there will be a number of opportunities that a club with a sturdy balance sheet can take care of. This is particularly important for a club such as Genoa and while it pains me to say it, Rossoblu supporters need to prepared for a number of changes.

Certainly one of the hottest commodities in the Serie A is the leadership of Gian Piero Gasperini, who many believe is nearing his final period in charge of Genoa. That not-so hot little rumour aside the Rossoblu leader enters a particular period with his side close to securing a spot in Europa but sputtering to the finish line. After a brilliant start to the second half of the year, Genoa are chugging along and lost some of their shine recently. With their tactical plan becoming remarkably predictable he has been slowly tinkering the formation and in light of a series of absences he is likely to use four in the backline in a 4-2-3-1. Whether this maintains its shape is reason for concern as when using this lineup in the past they have often drifted to more of a stacked and packed midfield and much of their attacking vision has slowed with fear of going forward. Should they utilize this formation Diego Milito will play up-top with support provided by a quorum of Giuseppe Sculli, Omar Milanetto, Raffaele Palladino and Boško Janković, who continues to exhibit his vast potential as he did coming up through the ranks of Crvena Zvezda.

As they approach Sunday's affair against the visitors from beautiful Verona, Genoa will be without the services of versatile Giandomenico Mesto, Domenico Criscito and former AEK man Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Chievo, who many felt "a lock" for relegation at the start of the campaign have simply been outstanding of-late as they have scratched and clawed their way out of the basement. With recent top shelf draws against Roma, Inter Milan and Juventus they have exhibited a curmudgeonly approach to defending and Genoa should anticipate the same on Sunday.