Bologna face off against Genoa on Saturday. Another home game against a team that, on paper, Bologna should beat. However, Genoa are in good form at the moment, and most lately won against Inter. With several important players missing, Bologna will have to up their game to get the three points.
Before this game, Bologna are sitting in 13th on level points (30) with Genoa in 12th. That means that a win would take Bologna past Genoa, but it could also take them past Fiorentina who have 32 points in 11th. La Viola have a home game against Chievo, and if they were to fail in that game, Bologna need to win against Genoa to close the gap. Udinese, who are in 10th with 33 points, and are playing away from home against Sampdoria, and Bologna can therefore close the gap to them as well.
The rossoblù finally got back to winning ways versus Sassuolo last weekend, despite having to field a team with several first-team players missing. Although Bologna started the game in a brilliant way, got an early goal thanks to Andrea Poli, and dominated the away side in every way, the win was not that impressive, as Sassuolo took over after the half hour mark. However, Erick Pulgar’s brilliant free kick secured the three, important points, and Bologna can build on that positive result going into the game against Genoa.
There were some talking points after the Emilia-Romagna derby last weekend. With the likes of Simone Verdi and Rodrigo Palacio out, Roberto Donadoni fielded a front three of César Falletti, Mattia Destro and Federico Di Francesco. The latter was Bologna’s best among the three on the day, and he will most likely start against Genoa as well. Palacio has now served his suspension, but he is now injured, and he’ll be out for a few weeks. That means that Destro most likely will be given another chance up front, whilst the last spot in attack is up for grabs.
Falletti started the last game, but several other players are also in the mix. Riccardo Orsolini favours the right hand side, and is the one that is most similar to Verdi. Ladislav Krejci was put on when Bologna tried to get the winning goal against Sassuolo, and it was he who won the free kick that Pulgar scored. The Czech hasn’t played a lot this season, but given his contribution against Sassuolo, he should stand a decent chance of being included against Genoa.
Krejci has got a different set of skills than the other options have got. Falletti, Orsolini and Di Francesco, but also Palacio and Verdi, all tend to cut inside from the flanks. This often makes Bologna very narrow in attack, and when the full-backs don’t provide width, it becomes all too easy to defend against.
Krejci, on the other hand, thrives along the sideline. He has got great pace, which makes it easy for him to move past defenders. With him also being an astute crosser of the ball, he is very much the antithesis to the rest of Bologna’s attacking options. Therefore, if Donadoni was to include Krejci, it could help stretch Genoa’s defence, and subsequently given more space to the players who favour cutting inside. Additionally, Krejci’s crosses could also be something which could get the best out of Destro. Often this season, Destro has seen his scoring chances limited. If Krejci was in the team to put in crosses, as well as stretch the opponents, Destro could get more space, and hopefully, more goals.
Genoa’s season started terribly, as they from early on looked like they would be stuck in a relegation battle. They were in 18th after thirteen games, but from that point on, they’ve climbed steadily up the table, and are now in a secure position. Ivan Juric was fired in November, and in came Davide Ballardini. Under the new coach, they have got some brilliant results, and they now look more like a mid-table club than a bottom half club. Andrej Galabinov and Goran Pandev are their current top scorers with three goals to their name. Diego Laxalt as well has got three goals to his name, as well as two assists, whilst Adel Taarabt has got two assists and two goals.
There will be some changes to the team that faced Sassuolo last weekend. Adam Masina and Ibrahima M’baye both return from their suspensions, and both are expected to go straight back into the line-up. Although neither have impressed this season, neither Emil Krafth nor Vasilis Torosidis impressed last weekend either.
Filip Helander is expected to come back into the team at the expense of the suspended Sebastien De Maio. The midfield is expected to be the same trio, while there are some question marks regarding the attack. Destro and Di Francesco will most likely start, with the last spot being up for grabs. One out of Orsolini, Falletti and Krejci will start, but who it will be is not easy to guess.
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; M’baye, Gonzalez, Helander, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Dzemaili; Di Francesco, Destro, Krejci
Genoa (3-5-2): Perin; Rossettini, Spolli, Zukanovic; Rosi, Bertolacci, Hiljemark, Bessa, Laxalt; Pandev, Galabinov
It will by no doubt be a tough encounter, but if Bologna put in a decent performance, Genoa can be beaten.
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Photo: Bologna FC