Catania’s current return of six points from nine games is their worst start to a campaign since 1983/84 and, despite having had some success at home this season, they are now in 17th position in the league; level on points with 18th and 19th-place Bologna and Sassuolo.
The Rossazzurri began the 2013/14 season with three consecutive losses: 2-1 away at Fiorentina with goals from Giuseppe Rossi and David Pizarro putting them to the sword, 3-0 at home to Inter as the Nerazzurri got their first away win under Walter Mazzarri and finally 2-0 away at Livorno as they were sunk by a Paulinho double.
They did manage to get their first point on the board in their next fixture with a goalless draw against Parma, but then returned to losing ways with a 3-1 midweek away defeat to Lazio.
The Rossazzurri faithful finally had something to cheer about, though, when they witnessed their team emerge 2-0 winners against Chievo Verona.
A calm left footed finish that went in off the post from Jaroslav Plasil opened the scoring, and a cross from the edge of the box which went all the way past Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni sealed the win.
The following weekend, Catania welcomed Juventus’ most recent opponents Genoa to the Angelo Massimino. But Rolando Maran’s men didn’t manage to fare as well as the Bianconeri did in their 2-0 home win as it finished 1-1 in Sicily. The Rossazzurri’s goal that day came from a good burst of pace and clever finish inside the box from Pablo Barrientos.
After the international break, Catania experienced their fifth defeat of the season at the hands of Cagliari, who mounted a comeback to run out 2-1 winners at the Stadio Sant’Elia following Gonzalo Bergessio’s opener.
The Rossazzurri now go into their clashes with Juventus and then Napoli on the back of a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Sassuolo. Neither side could find the attacking inspiration required to break the deadlock during Catania's first outing under new manager Luigi De Canio
Barrientos has been by far Catania’s leading light in attack, netting three times so far this season. Last year’s top scorer Bergessio is yet to find his form having scored just once against Cagliari.
Just six goals from open play is the worst return of any Serie A side so far, and the solitary goal that has come from set-pieces is also the lowest total of all.
But they do know how to profit from their opposition’s errors, seeing as three goals have come from pouncing on mistakes this season.
In stark contrast to Juve’s success in consistently overturning deficits in 2013/14, Catania have failed to get a result in any of the five games in which they have gone behind this season.
In fact, they appear to become less dangerous as games progress. Only Chievo Verona have scored less second-half goals, and the Rossazzurri themselves have never managed to find the net in the last half hour of a game.
Catania begun the season in a 4-3-3 formation under Rolando Maran, and Luigi De Canio looks set to continue that setup during his tenure after lining the side up with the same attacking trident against Sassuolo.