Benevento come to town in a must-win game for Bologna. The newly promoted side has had a remarkable upswing in their form recently with two wins in a row after failing to win any of the first 18. However, despite this Bologna should still beat them given the difference in quality between the two sides.
The game against Torino was perhaps the worst this season. As has been the case lately, the team lacked any real cohesion both at the back and going forward. The players struggled to put passes together, which made it easy for Torino to win the ball back, and subsequently have most of the ball throughout the game. Torino completely dominated the game from the first minute to the last, and Bologna have got a big job ahead to make up for the abysmal performance. Benevento are perhaps the ideal team to meet to do just that.
But, a win against Benevento can not be taken for granted. Despite their terrible start to the season with no wins in the first 18, they’ve now got two on the bounce, and confidence is definitely high at the moment. Massimo Coda has been their main man in the two games they’ve won, and he is the guy that Bologna need to stop if they are to get something out of the game. However, everything hasn’t been positive for Benevento the last couple of weeks. Their best centre back and captain, Fabio Lucioni, has been given a one year ban for drug use. That means that there will be a big hole in their defence, as Benevento has been a completely different team without him earlier in the season. This is something which Bologna should look to exploit, and with the likes of Verdi, Destro and Palacio in form, Benevento should be worried.
The quality of Bologna’s attack should be enough to cause trouble for Benevento, but
defensively there are a lot of concerns. I’ve written about the defensive mistakes in every preview for quite some time now, but they keep occurring, and therefore I’ll keep writing about them. All three goals conceded versus Torino could have been avoided if the team had been switched on defensively. After that game I wrote about Roberto Donadoni and how his position as head coach should be under review. I stand by this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be fired. It has been clear for quite some time now that the team seems to lack a vision, and Donadoni needs to address this. If he, alongside his coaching team, can develop a clear vision of how they want the team to play, I do think that Bologna can climb higher up the table with him in charge. This lack of vision is limiting the team’s potential, and needs fixing quickly.
Despite experiencing a rut in form of late, optimism should be high in Bologna at the moment. The Verdi saga is finally over, and his surprising decision to decline Napoli’s offer to stay at Bologna should give the team a moral boost. This will hopefully be utilized towards the game, and lead to a good, attacking performance.
Not a lot of changes are expected from the game against Torino. Adam Masina has been struggling with illness, but he reentered into full training on Friday, and is expected to start the game. Erick Pulgar has been out with the flu, and he is therefore an uncertainty before the game.
Blerim Dzemaili’s transfer was confirmed on Friday, but he is not 100% fit which means that he’ll not take any part versus Benevento.
It is likely that the coach will continue to utilize the 4-2-3-1 formation which allows him to deploy Di Francesco, Palacio, Verdi and Destro all together. Despite it not working properly versus Torino, this should cause problems against Benevento.
Bologna (4-2-3-1): Mirante; M’baye, Gonzalez, Helander, Masina; Poli, Nagy; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco; Destro
Benevento (4-4-2): Belec; Djimsiti, Billong, Costa, Venuti; Viola, Memushaj, Brignola, Lombardi; Puscas, Coda
The game will undoubtedly be tough given Benevento’s recent upswing in form, but Bologna’s quality, especially in attack, should be enough to get the three points. Three points are a must to not fall further behind the teams that are currently lying in 6th to 10th.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Bologna FC