There is really nothing new in the world of Bologna. As we await the game against Crotone on Saturday, I thought I would use this article to write about some lingering thoughts I’ve had since yesterday.
Firstly, we have a striker issue. In Rodrigo Palacio’s absence, Donadoni has used both Mattia Destro and Bruno Petkovic up front. Against Roma we also saw Di Francesco moving into the central of the front three. However, none of them can fulfil the role that the Argentinian excels in. His work ethic, and most importantly his clever movement is what sets him apart from the rest of our options. One can see a bit of the same in young Orji Okwonkwo, but he’s lacking in experience, and should not be our main striker yet.
What’s disappointing in particular is Mattia Destro’s performances. He has not played that much yet this season, and his first start came against Lazio. It was therefore a surprise both him and others that he was subsequently benched against Roma, with Palacio still injured. That Petkovic now seems to be in front of Destro in the pecking order is quite surprising, but at the same time deserved given Destro’s performance. However, one can not blame his performances only on him. He is, after all, the kind of striker that needs service from those around him, and he has not gotten to many chances in the games he’s played thus far. It would therefore be wrong to completely write him of, as he’s got a lot of potential that we must find a way to utilize. But, for now, Palacio should be our number 1. He can create things on his own, and his experience is invaluable.
Secondly, we must address our performances against the smaller teams this season. It feels great going into the bigger games knowing we’ll most likely perform well, but we are we not playing at the same level against the likes of Genoa, Sassuolo and Spal. Don’t get me wrong, the victories against them were great, and I’d take a bad performance and a win over a good performance and a loss any day. However, if we can play like our best in most of our games, we’ll be one the contenders for a top-half finish this season.
Thirdly, I love the fact that we can take control of games with most of the possession, but also be very dangerous on the counter, as we did against Roma. This is very promising, as there will always be games where we play against teams that focus on countering. In these games we will have to take charge, and we’ll have a lot of the ball. In the games against the stronger teams, it’s natural that we have less of the ball and that we’ll be pressed towards our own goal. In these games it’s crucial that we take advantage of our counterattacks. This versatility in the way the team approaches games is essential if we are to do well in games against the smaller teams, as well as the bigger one’s.
Since yesterday, the agent of Simone Verdi has been talking about the future of our winger. There has been some speculation about bigger clubs being interested in acquiring his services. His agent has denied this though, and said that there has been no offers for Verdi, and that a January transfer is out of the question. He also emphasized Verdi’s committment to the club:
We renewed his contract at the end of last season, and he’s tied to Bologna until 2021. (As quoted at football-italia.net)
This is great news for Bologna. After arriving last summer, Verdi has become one of our most important players, and has been rewarded with a call-up to the national team as well. although I’m not denying the possibility of him leaving in the future, I do think it would be wrong of him to leave now. He has just started demonstrated his qualities for the club, and at 25 years of age, he’s at a stage of his career where he needs to play week in week out. If he goes to Napoli, Roma or Inter in January, he is not guaranteed to be a starter, and his development would stop. At Bologna he is one of the best players, at the aforementioned clubs he would just be one of many great players. Of course, we would want Verdi to stay at Bologna for as long as possible, if he were to leave for a bigger club, now is not the time.
That’s all for today, feel free to comment as always. I’ll be back tomorrow!
Photo: Bologna FC