The Stadio Luigi Ferraris feels like a football morgue at the moment, as Genoa and Sampdoria have already buried their hopes and dreams, hoping to at least drag their comatose bodies over the finish line to see another Serie A season. As things stand, we’re more likely to see the Derby della Lanterna in Serie B next term. I don’t think either of these teams deserve to be in the top flight.
Genoa were my pre-season pick of likely relegation fodder, as they reminded me too much of Palermo. For the last two terms they have stuttered to safety, missing out on the drop by a handful of points, chopping and changing Coaches at the whim of their brazenly outspoken President. Sound familiar? Palermo risked it twice before finally plummeting into Serie B, so it may well be Genoa’s turn. It would be harsh on the fans of Italy’s oldest club, but there have been too many near misses to keep escaping their fate.
Hiring Fabio Liverani was a bizarre move from the start. With no senior management experience at all and only two years working with the younger element of the Genoa academy, he was always going to be a lamb to the slaughter with Enrico Preziosi. Much like Gennaro Gattuso at Palermo with Maurizio Zamparini, few expected it to last more than a month. And it didn’t.
Every summer Genoa radically revamp their squad with new buys, players coming and going from loans, then there’s no time for the side to gel and the patron loses patience with his Coach. I imagine Preziosi will throw money at the problem yet again in January with another spending spree that will only serve to exacerbate the lack of a team identity.
It will be intriguing if Gian Piero Gasperini does return to the Grifone. He was the last really successful Coach here from 2006 to 2010, when he was unceremoniously and rather rudely sacked. It was also the last place Gasp felt at home and able to play his preferred 3-4-3 system, because every step beyond Genoa has been an unmitigated disaster. Gasperini lasted four Serie A games at Inter, then had a ludicrous spell at Palermo that saw him hired, fired, re-hired and walk out in the space of six months. Perhaps Preziosi and Gasp can reconcile, having seen the horrible alternatives that lie outside this relationship...
Sampdoria must also be candidates for relegation after the worst start in their Serie A history with two points from six rounds. Genoa at least won the Derby, but the Blucerchiati have looked devoid of ideas, determination or desire throughout the campaign. They should’ve been able to hurt a desperately disappointing Milan, but the finishing, crossing, passing and just about everything else that can lead to a goal were shocking.
It’s easier to feel sorry for Delio Rossi, who has been given a vastly weakened squad this season. They lost Andrea Poli, Sergio Romero, Manuel Icardi, Marcelo Estigarribia, Maxi Lopez and Federico Piovaccari, who I might add is currently banging in goals for Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League. Manolo Gabbiadini and Roberto Soriano have great promise, but it’s hard to score goals when there’s absolutely no service. Whatever Enzo Maresca did to annoy Rossi, they should sort it out for the good of the team. He’s no use rotting in the stands when this side desperately lacks creativity.
It’s called the Derby della Lanterna because of the lighthouse along the port, but right now the football in Genoa is scrambling around in the dark.