Parma looking to bounce back from false start

It was the dream start to a new season and arrival in the new stadium Juventus would have been hoping for all summer. A convincing victory over their first opponents in front of a packed and partisan crowd placing the Bianconeri where they want to be after just one game – at the summit of Serie A. The contrast for Parma, who enjoyed an impressive double over the ‘Grand Old Lady’ in the last campaign, could not be anymore stark. The 4-1 score line was no flattery of the Turin side as the visitors could not muster a single shot on target until a 92nd minute penalty suggesting the performance was actually a far greater cause for concern than the result itself.
Expectations at the Stadio Ennio Tardini may not be what they once were and the squad is certainly lacking in star power and depth but on the basis of their performances against the big clubs in the second half of last season- it was more an issue of consistency than quality for the Emilian club as they humbled Inter, Juventus, Udinese and Palermo.
Following an impressive opening season in their return to Serie A in 2009/2010 under Francesco Guidolin the Gialloblu’s flirtation with relegation was a significant step back for a club looking to return to its playground over the previous decade – Europe. Guidolin’s success with Udinese will have been of bitter disappointment to Parma as the tenure of his replacement Pasquale Marino was brought to an early end. The prospects for the club avoiding relegation looked particularly bleak when current coach, the club’s third in three seasons – Franco Colomba stepped into the breach in March.
The remarkable turnaround in results and performances under Colomba, which rescued the club last season, are certainly worth consideration in evaluating the nightmare of Turin last weekend. In Parma’s penultimate game last season the Tuscan born coach lead his side to victory over Juventus – while there have been changes in both squads over the course of the summer it would be unfair to label this and the other impressive performances result as irrelevant now.
The lack of threat going forward so apparent in the opening fixture is not a new phenomenon. Last seasons top marksman for i Crociati was the veteran Hernan Crespo with only nine league goals – most of which arrived in the Winter. The importance of Amauri, who impressed on loan in the second half of last season, should not be forgotten either and it was the main disappointment of Parma’s summer in failing to secure his signature.
No head coach can enjoy a poor start to the season in Italy and avoid question marks being raised about their future – Stefano Pioli is ample evidence to the perils that await the peninsulas coaches – however Parma would be wise to look at their experience with Guidolin and consider their position before Colomba arrived before making any decisions regardless of any ability to bounce back straight away against Chievo this weekend.

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