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Oct 25, 2020 at 2pm UK
ParmaParma
2-2
SpeziaSpezia
Gagliolo (34'), Kucka (90+2' pen.)
Grassi (5'), Hernani (23'), Sohm (90')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Chabot (28'), Agudelo (31')
Pobega (6'), Ferrer (85')
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Preview: Parma vs. Spezia Calcio - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Parma vs. Spezia Calcio - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A encounter between Parma and Spezia, including prediction, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Pessimists and realists at both clubs will see Parma's encounter with promoted Spezia, on Sunday, as an early must-win game in the race for Serie A survival.

The hosts, at Stadio Ennio Tardini, are languishing in 18th place on three points, while their visitors are just one point better off.


Match preview

Parma have suffered three defeats so far - against Napoli, Bologna and, last week, Udinese - with only one win against Verona to show for their efforts.

Coach Fabio Liverani has found the Dejan Kulusevski-shaped hole in his squad an impossible one to fill. Last season the versatile Sweden international often dragged the Gialloblu through games by sheer force of personality - and talent - alone. Roberto Inglese and Andreas Cornelius have misfired badly in his absence.

Not only that, but their defence has also become increasingly porous: Parma have conceded goals in nine of their last 10 Serie A games at the Tardini (16 in total).

What's more, they have lost 10 league matches since Italian football resumed in June - the most of those still in the division.

Having suffered heartbreak after Ignacio Pussetto struck in the 90th minute to cast them to a 3-2 defeat at Udinese last week, Liverani's charges now have what many would describe as an excellent opportunity to right the ship, at home against an inexperienced minnow.

Before that game, there were even question marks about whether it would go ahead, as in the preceding days, Parma had registered seven positive COVID-19 tests amongst their squad. Several of those players are still absent, but there is still enough quality available to their coach to field a team capable of turning over the visitors.

Spezia's promotion to the top flight was their first in an unassuming 114-year club history, but the Ligurians' start to life in Serie A has been a mixed one so far.

Coach Vincenzo Italiano has used the most players (26) in Serie A's opening four rounds, clearly suggesting he is unsure of the right approach to adopt for this potentially most challenging of seasons. In fact, only three players have managed to start each of their four games to date.

Encouragement can be gleaned, however, from their courageous resurrection against Fiorentina last weekend.

The Aquilotti, shorn of several first team players, found themselves two goals down within five minutes at their temporary home in Cesena. By the end of an all-in second half fightback, Italiano's men had salvaged a 2-2 draw, leaving several players hobbling around with cramp given the scale of their effort.

A significant injury list has not shortened much in the intervening week, but they will perhaps be satisfied with their current points-per-game ratio of four from four.

As underdogs once more, Spezia will aim to make life difficult for Parma's more established attacking trident of Juraj Kucka, Gervinho and Yann Karamoh, while hoping to steal a goal or two on the counter.

Historical precedent favours the hosts, as might be expected. After losing five of their first six matches against Sunday's visitors, Parma remain unbeaten in the most recent four - though each of those was contested in Serie B. Failure to add a fifth game to that run will start to see the pressure on ex-Lecce boss Liverani start to mount.

Parma Serie A form: LLWL

Spezia Serie A form: LWLD


Team News

There remains a long list of unavailable squad members for Liverani to contend with for Sunday's game.

Striker Inglese, Juan Brunetta, Matteo Scozzarella, Mattia Sprocati and Jacopo Dezi are among that number.

Additionally, veteran defender Bruno Alves registered a positive COVID-19 test before the Udinese game and is now self-isolating.

In midfield, only Jasmin Kurtic is assured of a starting jersey, but he is likely to be partnered with Hernani and Wylan Cyprien. Kucka is expected to play behind the elusive pairing of Gervinho and Karamoh, while Cornelius could feature from the bench.

Spezia have Bulgarian striker Andrey Galabinov, goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, Federico Mattiello and Elio Capradossi injured, with Riccardo Marchizza and Giulio Maggiore still quarantining.

In defence Jacopo Sala should play on the right; Cristian Dell'Orco on the left, with captain Claudio Terzi and Julian Chabot paired centrally.

Their attacking trident should be comprised of M'Bala Nzola in the centre; Daniele Verde and Emmanuel Gyasi on the flanks.

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Laurini, Iacoponi, Gagliolo, Pezzella; Hernani, Cyprien, Kurtic; Kucka; Gervinho, Karamoh

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Sala, Terzi, Chabot, Dell'Orco; Mora, Ricci, Deiola; Verde, Nzola, Gyasi


We say: Parma 1-1 Spezia

A close one to call, between down-on-their-luck Parma and overachieving Spezia. The inability of the Gialloblu to find a regular source of goals so far could prevent them from picking up a much needed three points at the Tardini.

Resilient Spezia, meanwhile, can continue to grind out results against the odds.


Top betting 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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