This is the third installment in a monthly series where Sempre Bologna looks back at the month gone by. Here, we summarise each game, pick out any stand-out performances, and look at trends in how Bologna have performed. We’ll also look at any players that may have performed worse than what’s expected of them.
Going into the month, Bologna were sitting in 8th after climbing up the table in November. After a month with just one win in five, Bologna are now down in 12th. Here is a breakdown of each match the past month:
Bologna 1-1 Cagliari
Destro (81′)/Pedro (42′)
The game against Cagliari was a game characterized by Bologna being sloppy on the ball. As has been the case in a lot of games this season, Bologna struggled against a team in the lower half of the table. Players like Masina, De Maio and Donsah struggled to find anyone with their passes, while the attacking players struggled to create anything. Bologna had around 60% of the ball in the game, and then to create almost nothing going forward was quite bad. The only positive in the game was Mattia Destro’s brilliant equalizer, where he proved that he was on his way back to his best form.
Best Rossoblù: Rodrigo Palacio
AC Milan 2-1 Bologna
Bonaventura (10′, 76′)/Verdi (23′)
Milan had failed to win the first two games under the new coach Gattuso, and the pressure was therefore huge for them to win at home against Bologna. The home side started with a lot of intensity, and they got an early goal. At that point it looked like the result could become quite bad for Bologna, but then Simone Verdi levelled the score with a great finish from outside the box. The equalizer made Milan a bit shaky, but they still managed to create some chances. Milan had most of the possession throughout the game, but Bologna were very much in the game going into the last fifteen minutes of it. But, as have been the case in a lot of games this season, bad defending proved costly. A cross was whipped in from Milan’s right hand side, and at the end of said cross was Bonaventura to head it in. Vasilis Torosidis was basically asleep on the goal, and the Greek really should have made it more difficult for the Milan player. Despite Milan dominating the game possession wise, it felt like one point lost. Bologna got several chances afterwards, but they failed to get anything out of them.
Best Rossoblù: Simone Verdi
Bologna 0-3 Juventus
Pjanic (27′), Mandzukic (36′), Matuidi (64′)
A truly deserved win for Juventus, but Bologna should have made it harder for them. Two out of the three goals should have been avoided. The first goal, the freekick by Pjanic, should have been saved by Antonio Mirante. By conceding it, Mirante continued a worrying trend this season. His level of performance has dropped remarkably this season. The second goal was all about Juventus, and it was really nothing Bologna could do about it. The third goal should also have been avoided though. Filip Helander failed to put his foot through a clearance, and the ball fell to Matuidi. He saw the opportunity, and volleyed the ball into the corner. The games against Juventus are games where I don’t have any expectations going into them. However, to give them two easy goals is unforgivable. These kinds of mistakes have been happening regularly this season, and Donadoni needs to find a way to rid the team of them.
Best Rossoblù: Adam Masina
Chievo Verona 2-3 Bologna
Inglese (32′), Cacciatore (85′)/Destro (4′, 90′), Verdi (50′)
This was perhaps the most entertaining match of the season. Lots of goals, a red card, VAR controversy, and disallowed goals. And, most importantly, a Bologna victory. Destro gave Bologna the early lead, but Inglese levelled the score around the half hour mark. Bologna started the second half like they did the first, as Verdi put Bologna in front again. Then, with just five minutes to go, Cacciatore equalized for the home side. The referee had to use VAR on the goal, and it took around five minutes before he eventually allowed it. Bologna weren’t having it though, and Destro put Bologna in front again just five minutes later, capitalizing on a mistake in Chievo’s defence. Chievo then managed to equalize, but, fortunately for Bologna, the referee disallowed the goal.
Best Rossoblù: Mattia Destro
Bologna 1-2 Udinese
Danilo (27′ OG)/Widmer (37′), Lasagna (48′)
As against Chievo, Bologna took the lead. Verdi cut inside from the right, dribbling past several Udinese defenders. His shot from outside the box deflected off Danilo and curled into the far corner. But, as so many times this season, Bologna made it too easy for the opponent to score. Udinese put in a cross from the left, and at the far post was Widmer. The wingback put his head through the ball, and Udinese were back in the game. No Bologna player was there to challenge him, something which have happened too many times this season. The second half started terribly. Udinese got a huge chance after a minute, but Lasagna’s shot went off the post. However, the striker was keen to put things right after his miss, and just a couple of minutes after it, Udinese were in the lead. They played their way brilliantly through the Bologna defence with some incisive one-touch passes, before Lasagna finished calmly past Mirante.
Best Rossoblù: Mattia Destro
Mattia Destro is now back to his best. He got three goals to his name in December, but
it wasn’t just the goals that impressed me. His work-rate has been excellent throughout the month, and his ability to win headers have been impressive. He has now won back his place in the team after having been out of it earlier in the season. His revival now means that Donadoni has quite the headache regarding his team selection. Verdi and Destro are both given to start, and that means that Federico Di Francesco, Palacio, Ladislav Krejci and Orji Okwonkwo have to fight it out to occupy the last attacking position.
WHO DID WE EXPECT MORE FROM?
Roberto Donadoni has got to rid his team of defensive mistakes. It was a reoccurring
theme during December that Bologna made it easy for the opponents to score. Several players have switched of at key moments, and it have led to several points lost. That this happens as regularly as it have done is on Donadoni. His responsibility is to make sure that the players are switched on at all times, and he needs to fix this before the next game.
Antonio Mirante has been struggling of late. The goalkeeper can be top-notch on his day, but this season he has made some weird decisions. Pjanic’s freekick should have been saved, and other goals too could have been saved by him despite them not being mistakes by him. Da Costa is waiting in the background for a chance to start, and Mirante needs to improve if he is to remain the number one GK at the club. It may be time for Bigon and his team to start looking for a new GK though.
HOW DID THE TEAM PLAY?
As mentioned above, this month was all about defensive mistakes. Several points lost because of it, something which Donadoni needs to fix going forward. Overall, it was a month characterized by Bologna not being able to play the way the want. Cagliari was an overall bad performance, while Milan and Juventus both made it very difficult for Bologna to their mark on the games. Chievo was an utterly bizarre game where Bologna where the fortunate winner at the end of ninety minutes. Bologna need to improve attacking wise going into January, but especially the defence needs improving.
WHATS NEXT? LOOKING AHEAD TO JANUARY
January is a month of only three games. Bologna first go to Torino in what will be a tough game. Torino are in tenth before the match, and they are one points ahead of Bologna at the time of writing this. After Torino, Benevento come to the Dall’Ara in what should be the easiest game of the month. January is the finished of by a trip to Naples. A tricky month, but Bologna should at least get four points out of the three games.
Photo: Bologna FC