MX23RW : Monday, April 19 16:38:48| >> :600:127219:127219:
Feb 27, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia, Italy
SpeziaSpezia
2-2
ParmaParma
Gyasi (52', 72')
Ricci (21'), N'Zola (88'), Acampora (90')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Karamoh (17'), Hernani (25')
Brunetta (9'), Hernani (50'), Kurtic (84'), Gagliolo (85')

Preview: Spezia vs. Parma - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Spezia and Parma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After returning to earth with a bump last week, Serie A rookies Spezia seek to extend their opponents' misery on Saturday, as relegation-haunted Parma visit Stadio Alberto Picco.

While the Bianconeri followed up their historic home win over Milan with a humbling three-goal loss at Fiorentina, this week's visitors saw their desperate winless run extended to 14.


Match preview

Spezia coach Vincenzo Italiano on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Spezia were punished for not having scored during the first half in Florence last week, as in the second period, Vincenzo Italiano's side conceded three times and proved unable to produce a reaction.

Such a setback after back-to-back wins will have disappointed their much-admired coach, who gained comparisons with legendary attacking football disciple Zdenek Zeman following the triumph over Scudetto-chasing Milan.

Nonetheless, Spezia are the only side in Serie A this season to have picked up more points against teams in the top half of the table than the bottom half, thanks to relatively consistent performances which have ensured confidence has never sunk too low for the top flight debutants.

Curiously, though notwithstanding last Friday's 3-0 reverse at Stadio Artemio Franchi, the Aquilotti's away record is also better than at home. Many of their underwhelming results as hosts can be ascribed to starting the season staging 'home' matches in Cesena, but Italiano's progressive approach remains present regardless of the venue.

Currently in 16th place in the table, but nine points clear of the drop zone, Spezia can look towards the spring with confidence that their first-ever Serie A campaign could result in a second shot at the big time next term.

After taking on Parma this Saturday afternoon, the Ligurian outfit will also face fellow survival candidates Benevento, Cagliari and Crotone within their next six fixtures - the outcome of which may define their destiny.

Parma manager Roberto D'Aversa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Having somehow contrived to throw away a golden opportunity to break a nightmarish run of games without a win last weekend, Parma must now pick themselves up off the floor and prepare for another crucial clash.

Allowing Udinese to salvage a 2-2 draw at the Tardini - after they had forged a two-goal advantage in the first half - the Crociati's period of league games without success ticked over to 14, representing their worst-ever spell in Serie A.

Roberto D'Aversa will rue his side's continuing profligacy in front of goal and pressure continues to mount on the recently returned coach as a result of his inability to stop Parma's alarming slide down the standings.

Six points adrift of safety - and a full ten behind their hosts on Saturday - they have attracted the unwanted 'crisis club' tag in 2021.

Though the Emilians at least broke a painful goalscoring drought on home turf last time out - remarkably they had previously gone eight home matches without scoring, just one shy of the all-time record posted by Sampdoria in 1972 - their attack remains comfortably the weakest in the top flight. Despite the frantic midwinter signing of several new recruits, including veteran striker Graziano Pelle and young Bayern Munich loanee Joshua Zirkzee, to bolster a lightweight offence, there seems to be little sign of improvement so far.

Just six points accumulated away from the Tardini to date tells its own tale, so further contributions from established names such as Juraj Kucka (currently top scorer, with five goals) and Gervinho - given a rare rest by D'Aversa last week - will be required in La Spezia if the Giallorossi's barren run is to ultimately end.

Spezia Serie A form: DLLWWL
Spezia form (all competitions): LLLWWL

Parma Serie A form: DLLLLD
Parma form (all competitions): LLLLLD


Team News

Spezia's Simone Bastoni celebrates scoring their second goal on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Defender Simone Bastoni, a goalscorer versus Milan, returns to the Spezia starting XI following suspension last weekend, as Vincenzo Italiano also welcomes back top scorer M'Bala Nzola after more than a month's absence.

The coach's 4-3-3 setup should nonetheless see Kevin Agudelo continuing as a false nine, with Nzola perhaps being re-introduced from the bench.

As the Ligurians face Juventus in midweek, there may be some rotation too, as Nahuel Estevez competes with Tommaso Pobega to keep his place in midfield.

Parma, who have been through an extraordinary amount of players this season, have several absences due to injury once again, as strikers Roberto Inglese and Graziano Pelle are ruled out of Saturday's game and both Lautaro Valenti and Mattia Sprocati are also unavailable. Furthermore, January signing Mattia Bani and Uruguyan midfielder Gaston Brugman must serve suspensions.

Experienced campaigners Bruno Alves, Jasmin Kurtic and Gervinho are all expected to come back into the side, with young forward Valentin Mihalia dropping out.

Having finally found the net last time out, Danish target man Andreas Cornelius should once more get the nod to start up front.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Vignali, Erlic, Ismajli, Bastoni; Maggiore, Ricci, Estevez; Gyasi, Agudelo, Saponara

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Conti, Osorio, Alves, Gagliolo; Kucka, Hernani, Kurtic; Karamoh, Cornelius, Gervinho


SM words green background

We say: Spezia 1-2 Parma

Could Parma finally end their horrible win-free run this week, with only a second away success of the campaign? Having come so close but yet so far at the Tardini last Sunday, the Gialloblu may now be ready to stake a claim for Serie A survival by narrowing the gap between these sides in the standings.

After a disappointing defeat versus Fiorentina - and with a trip to Juventus to come in just a few days time - Spezia may be just short of their sometimes brilliant best, leaving the door open for their visitors to strike.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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