Coppa Italia: Third Round / Team rating: 5 / Top scorer: Gilardino (15)
Safety was achieved earlier than recent years, but Aman Sehdev argues were it not for a lacklustre final two months, Genoa’s season could have been better.
The Rossoblu finished the previous two campaigns in 17th, with relegation narrowly avoided. The 2013-14 campaign bucked that trend with the Grifone comfortably avoiding the drop, but it cannot be overstated how vital Alberto Gilardino’s goals were, with relegation a strong possibility without him.
Genoa almost struck a deal with Roma to swap Gilardino with Marco Borriello, who had impressed on loan the previous term. However, talks broke down, Gilardino remained and the former Milan man proved vital to the cause in a season that saw his side struggle for any lasting form.
A season-high four game losing streak from late March to April was part of a run of seven games without victory that stunted progress at the Marassi. Genoa picked up just five points from a possible 21 in the final two months. What will be worrying heading into next season is how reliant Genoa were on their experienced centre-forward - the only player to hit double figures in goals.
Of the 11 wins, none resonated sweeter with supporters than the 3-0 thrashing of bitter rivals Sampdoria away in the Derby della Lanterna. Genoa gained creditable away draws along the way with Milan, Fiorentina and Napoli.
Alongside Gilardino’s good form was the meteoric rise of young shot stopper and World Cup-bound Mattia Perin. The 21-year-old firmly established himself as the No 1 at the Marassi, missing just one game all season.
His form didn’t go unnoticed, as Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli gave the youngster a place in the provisional World Cup squad, which will see Perin guaranteed a place in Brazil as he was one of the permitted three ‘keepers selected.
Genoa can look back proudly on a season where Serie A status was preserved comfortably, but had the Grifone collected another couple of wins during April and May the Marassi faithful could have been looking at close to a top 10 finish.
Genoa endured its worst start to a season since 1983 with four defeats from six games. Liverani was replaced by Gasperini, who returned for a second spell to comfortably guide the Rossoblu to safety. Personal highlight was a victory over former employers Inter, who had sacked him after four rounds in 2011.
The Rossoblu in all likelihood would have been relegated were it not for Gilardino’s 15 goals. No other Grifone player reached double figures, all the more remarkable given the Italian was on the cusp of being sold before the beginning of the campaign. Unfortunate to miss out on a World Cup place in Brazil.
- Six of Genoa’s 11 wins came against teams in the top 10 - Roma, Inter, Parma, Verona and Lazio twice.
- Alberto Gilardino’s 15 goals accounted for 36 per cent of Genoa’s total goals this season.
- Genoa scored more than two goals in a game just three times, two of which ended in 3-3 draws against Fiorentina and Udinese.
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