Bologna lost by one goal at home to Atalanta thanks to a goal by Marten de Roon. The home-side struggled throughout the game to create anything going forward, whilst a lack of pressure gave de Roon the chance to score the winner. Now Bologna face a period of two tough games, with Lazio coming up followed by Roma.
It was expected, given the suspension to Giancarlo Gonzalez and the recent fitness struggles of Simone Romagnoli, that Roberto Donadoni would go back to his regular 4-3-3 formation. However, Romagnoli proved fit enough to start, and Donadoni kept on going with 3-5-1-1. Godfred Donsah came into the side for the injured Andrea Poli, whilst Felipe Avenatti got his first Serie A start at the expense of Mattia Destro.
What we learned:
Simone Verdi started his first game after his stint on the sidelines last weekend against Spal. In that game, it was very evident that he lacked the little extra he so often has shown earlier in the season. In today’s game, he played a bit better and was Bologna’s best attacking player. However, he is still someway off his usual self, but this will come back with more time out on the field. Bologna struggled going forward in this game, but hopefully Verdi will soon be back at his best, and then, probably so will Bologna.
Atalanta dominated possession wise with 60%, however, despite this they still found themselves in an abundance of space on the counter several times during the game. When a team has most of the possession, the tendency is that the other team will fall back, and the team in possession will have to work hard to find space. However, time and time again Atalanta went on the counter, often with more players than Bologna had in defence. Bologna were lucky not to concede from these counter attack’s, and Donadoni has to work on denying teams these kinds of opportunities. One of the factors that gave Atalanta so much space was the fact the Sebastien De Maio, the right-sided centre back, often functioned as a right back, with the right wing back Federico Di Francesco cutting inside. This left only Filip Helander and Romagnoli back to defend, and Bologna subsequently became vulnerable.
Donadoni has played with three at the back for a few games now. Initially, it gave Bologna a much-needed defensive security, something which they had lacked earlier in the season. However, it is now becoming clear that project three at the back hampers the attacking display. It is not getting the best out of Di Francesco who is forced to play in a position he is not accustomed to. This leads to him cutting inside, which makes Bologna too narrow. Additionally, the sole two attackers up front are often isolated. Therefore, Donadoni should be considering a change in system, either back to his regular 4-3-3, or a another variety with three at the back, for instance a 3-4-3. The latter could see Bologna field a front three of Verdi, Palacio and Di Francesco, a trio who could cause some serious damage.
Donadoni decided to utilize Avenatti at the expense of Destro. The latter has improved of late, with his performance against Genoa two weeks ago being the highlight. Although he struggled against Spal in the last game, so did the rest of the team. Donadoni’s decision to play Avenatti for his first start ever in Serie A was very surprising, and Destro must be wondering why he yet again was put on the bench. He has been in and out of the team this season, with there also being speculated around his lack of determination. Given that Destro cannot seem to keep his place in the team, Avenatti still to impress in the rossoblù shirt, and the fact that Palacio is not getting any younger, Bologna should be on the lookout for a new striker come this summer.
Filip Helander: On a day where there were far between good performances, the Swedish defenders stood out as one of the few. He was solid in everything he did; from denying Atalanta players space inside the box, winning headers, and making important interceptions in the nick of time. Despite the loss, Helander can be happy about his performance.
The next Serie A round sees Bologna travel to Rome to face off against Lazio. The game is played next Sunday and will be very tough. Lazio have impressed all year, and because they failed to win versus Cagliari this round, they will be eager to redeem themselves.
What did you think of the match? Who was your man of the match? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Bologna FC