Match preview: Bologna – Lazio

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Injuries and a suspension will force Donadoni to change his team against Lazio

Tonight, we face of against Lazio in what will be a difficult match for the team. After the loss against Atalanta on Sunday we need a better performance to get something out of this one. Lazio have been playing brilliantly all season, and this will be one of the most challenging games thus far. This being the second game in 72 hours, the coach needs to rotate his squad to avoid fatigue and injuries.

Lazio are in great form, sitting only three points behind leaders Napoli, and coming from a solid 3-0 win against Cagliari at the weekend. Lazio’s main man to stop is, without a doubt, Ciro Immobile. He’s got 17 goals thus far in all competitions, the top-scorer in the top five European leagues. If we find some way of taking him out of the game, we can achieve a positive result tonight. The last time we played against Lazio was back in March, when we lost 2-0 at home after two goals by, you guessed it, Immobile.

What gives me hope going into the match is how we’ve performed against the supposedly better teams this season. We were the better side against Napoli in the first half, before they eventually scored the first goal. We played great against Inter, and were very unlucky not to win that game. The fact that we played as well as we did against two very strong opponents proves that we are capable of great things.

Some of the players that took part against Atalanta will not be available tonight. Most noticeably are the injuries to Vasilis Torsidis and Rodrigo Palacio, who both have injured their right hamstring. We’ll also have to do without Giancarlo Gonzalez who will serve his one-game suspension against Lazio.

Their absences will open the door to some of the players that have been on the fringes thus far this season. With both Ibrahima M’baye and Vasilis Torosidis out, Emil Krafth will have a good opportunity of proving his worth to the team and the coach. Sebastien De Maio is expected to step into the team to fill Gonzalez’ role next to Filip Helander. It will be interesting to see how he performs, but he did play quite well after he came on against Atalanta. Last but not least, someone has to fill the Palacio-shaped hole in the attack. Here, Roberto Donadoni has got a few options in Mattia Destro and Bruno Petkovic, and there has also been talk about playing Simone Verdi as a striker, and letting either César Falletti or Ladislav Krejci play out wide. We’ll know for sure tonight, but it would be really surprising if Destro doesn’t get to start.

Given our big squad, and that a lot of players are fighting for a chance to start, Donadoni had this to say yesterday:

Today, I want to see the boys energetic and willing. Then, I will make decisions. Palacio will miss out. We’ll count on those who have had less playing time. They’ll have their chance.

Now really is the time for our fringe players to shine. After mostly playing the same squad all season, we need to utilize more players to avoid injuries piling up. The injuries to Torosidis and Palacio will force the coach’s hand a bit, but they are 32 and 35 years respectively, and not able to play every game of the season at that age. I am expecting a solid performance from Destro tonight, given that he starts the match, as he has a lot to prove after losing his place to Palacio. He has a lot of goals in him, now is the time for him to prove his worth.

Expected line-ups:

Bologna: Mirante; Krafth, De Maio, Helander, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Donsah; Verdi, Destro, Di Francesco.

Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos, De Vrij, Radu; Marusic, Parolo, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic; Luis Alberto; Immobile

That’s all for today, there will be a review of the Lazio game here sometime tomorrow! See you in the comments!


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