It has been a steady first season back in Serie A for Parma. When la Gialloblu departed Italy’s top flight for Serie B at the end of the 2007/08 season, many thought we would not see them competing at the top level for some time. The clubs financial troubles being cited as the main reason for people doubting their ability to bounce back. But, under the studious guidance of Francesco Guidolin, they returned to Serie A at the first attempt, and we now look back on what has been a stable return to the big time for the team from the Ennio Tardini.
The former Palermo coach Guidolin, has of course, been one of the key factors in Parma’s successful season. His intelligent signings in the summer of 2009 proved crucial. Italian Defender, Cristian Zaccardo, a player he brought in from Wolfsburg just days before the summer transfer window slammed shut has been an ever present in the Crociati line-up and has been a key player throughout. He also brought in Daniele Galloppa from Siena, a player whose clever passes and creativity served Parma well throughout the season.
The team’s pre-christmas form in the league ensured that la Gialloblu ensured a happy and safe tenure in Serie A. Prior to the festive season break, they recorded eight wins and four draws from their 17 league fixtures. To emphasise how important this form was, it was not until the 28th of February 2010, and victory over Sampdoria, that Parma next won in the league. The impressive outlay of pre Christmas points gave Parma breathing space going into the New Year, breathing space that unfortunately, perhaps, meant Guidolin’s team took their foot off the gas. Losing McDonald Mariga to Inter in January was a blow. The Kenyan midfielder’s presence in the middle of the park was another impressive point to look back on, and it was disappointing for Parma to lose him midway through the campaign. The signings of Luis Jiminez and Hernan Crespo did not really work out for la Gialloblu, although it was certainly nice to see Crespo back in a Parma shirt after 10 years.
There were positives for Parma in 2010, a 1-0 win over Milan at the Ennio Tardini, and the especially impressive 2-3 victory in Turin, against a struggling Juventus team being the highlights. Beating the Bianconeri always brings a smile to the faces of la Gialloblu supporters.
So a season of two halves for Parma, you could say. Impressive prior to the winter break, gaining results that assured their Serie A stay lasted longer than just the one season, and barring a couple of standout results, rather unimpressive post winter break. All in all, you would have to agree, that most important thing for la Gialloblu this season, was maintaining Serie A status for next term. So in that respect, it has been mission accomplished. For all the New Year woes at the club, supporters of la Crociati, will be thankful that their season did not go the way of fellow newly promoted side, Livorno, whose shocking season ensured their own race to stay in Italy’s top flight fell at the first hurdle.
Credit, therefore, must go to Francesco Guidolin and his players for guiding the team to a creditable eighth position and ensuring that the likes of Inter, Juventus and Milan will all be returning to Stadio Ennio Tardini next season.