It has been a tough start to this season’s Serie A championship for Parma, who have been unable to recapture the form which led them to a sixth-place finish in the 2013/14 campaign.
An opening day defeat away at newly-promoted Cesena was the first of eight reverses from 10 games played, with successes over Chievo and Inter providing brief moments of respite in an otherwise barren season so far.
Goals scored have not necessarily been the fundamental concern for Roberto Donadoni’s men, who have found the target in all but two of their fixtures, but it is down the other end where the real problems lie, as highlighted by heavy defeats to Milan (five), Udinese (four) and Sassuolo (three).
The summer sales of Marco Parolo and Amauri have left them without a midfield playmaker and target man, while the sidelined duo of Gabriel Paletta and Jonathan Biabiany means they are also lacking a defensive leader and explosive pace in forward areas.
However, it was a new arrival, on-loan Juventus full-back Paolo De Ceglie, who breathed new life into the Gialloblu’s campaign in the last round of Serie A matches, striking twice to down Inter at the Ennio Tardini.
Donadoni will be hoping the three points, which took his side above Chievo into 19th position, serve as light at the end of the tunnel as he leads his men into arguably their toughest test of the season so far, Sunday’s away day at reigning champions Juventus.