Bologna face off against Lazio Sunday evening. Coming from disappointing results, Bologna need to lift their spirits with a good performance. However, facing a considerably stronger opponent who comes from an encouraging win in Europe, optimism is not high.
The performance against Atalanta last weekend was horrid from an attacking point of view. Atalanta dominated throughout the game possession wise as Bologna failed to create much going forward. Roberto Donadoni’s choice to continue with three at the back was somewhat surprising, but it was evident throughout the game that it hampers Bologna’s offensive power. The sole two up front often became isolated, and as a result the Atalanta defence was not troubled much.
Another surprising decision by the coach for the game against La Dea, was the fact that he benched Mattia Destro. The former Roma striker has improved of late, and to see him benched was not expected. However, in the broader scheme of things, it was no surprise. Destro has been in and out of the team this season, which makes it evident that the striker clearly lacks the faith of the coach. In came Felipe Avenatti, a played who up until that game had not started a Serie A match. He did not do much during the time he got on the field, although that was not his fault as he got almost no service. Whether Donadoni decides to go for Destro or Avenatti, or even Rodrigo Palacio who has returned to full training, remains to be seen.
If Bologna are to achieve a positive result against Lazio, improvement is needed. Atalanta are a good side, but Lazio are in another league. They have impressed all year, and are very much in the mix for a top-four finish. To beat them, or at least get a draw, Bologna need to create more going forward than they have done the last couple of games. Initially, three at the back gave Bologna a much-needed defensive security, however, it also hampered the attacking display of the team. Donadoni should be considering a change in formation, either back to the regular 4-3-3, or possibly another variety of three at back. It has been evident that Bologna need more men going forward, and a possible choice could be 3-4-3, with Palacio, Destro and Simone Verdi. That front three have more than enough quality to cause problems for Lazio.
There are some injury concerns pre game. Andrea Poli has not trained of late, as he has been undergoing treatment. The same is true of Riccardo Orsolini, whilst Angelo Da Costa has finished his personalised training regime, but the Brazilian is still receiving treatment for his injury. Sebastien De Maio has been struggling with the flu, and his inclusion is therefore uncertain.
It will be interesting to see if Donadoni decides to change his formation, but our guess is that he’ll continue with the 3-5-1-1, as it does give the team more security at the back, something which is needed against a strong Lazio side.
With Palacio having only just returned from injury, his inclusion from the start of the game should not be counted on. Given that there is a two-week international break after the Lazio game, it would be smart to leave the veteran on the bench, as he then would be able to fully recover during the break, and contribute towards the latter end of the season.
Bologna (3-5-1-1): Mirante; Gonzalez, Romagnoli, Helander; Di Francesco, Donsah, Pulgar, Dzemaili, Masina; Verdi; Destro
It will definitely be a tough challenge for Bologna in Rome. With the current results as an indicator, optimism is not high going into this game. However, Bologna have shown earlier in the season that they can perform well against stronger teams. Fingers crossed that we’ll see a good performance on Sunday.
Photo: Bologna FC