Another month has gone by, and Sempre Bologna will as always provide you with our monthly review. Here, we summarise each game, pick out any stand-out performances, and look at how Bologna have performed as a team. We’ll also look at any players that may have performed worse than what’s expected of them.
Going into the month, Bologna were safely sitting in 12th. After a month of four games with two losses and two draws, Bologna have climbed up to 11th in the table. Here is a breakdown of each match the past month:
Spal 1-0 Bologna
The month kicked off with a Emilia-Romagna derby versus Spal from Ferrara. The home side started the match the strongest, whilst Bologna were on the wrong end of two important incidents. First, Andrea Poli went out injured after eight minutes. Then, after ten minutes, Giancarlo Gonzalez was sent off. This made the game very difficult for Roberto Donadoni’s men, and Spal subsequently controlled much of the game. They eventually scored the winner only minutes after the break, and from that point on Spal looked like the likely winner. Bologna failed to create anything going forward, but Mattia Destro did get an unbelievable chance to score the equalizer right on the cusp of full-time, but he somehow managed to miss the sitter.
Best Rossoblù: None
Bologna 0-1 Atalanta
De Roon (83′)
The loss in the Emilia-Romagna derby was followed up by a horrid performance against La Dea. Atalanta dominated from the get-go. As was the case against Spal, Bologna struggled going forward. Although some credit has to go to the Atalanta defence, Bologna really should have troubled them more. Much of this was the lack of firepower in attack. Donadoni continued to deploy the 3-5-1-1 formation, with Simone Verdi and Felipe Avenatti being the two called upon up front. This duo proved inefficient, not too surprising given Verdi’s recent injury problems and it being Avenatti’s Serie A start ever. In the end, Atalanta won deservedly and Bologna’s streak of losses continued.
Best Rossoblù: Filip Helander
Lazio 1-1 Bologna
Leiva (16′)/Verdi (3′)
After two straight losses, the rossoblù supporters did not expect much going into the game versus Lazio. The Rome side had played brilliantly all season, and they were expected to win the game. However, Bologna went off to a great start when Verdi scored the opener after three minutes. This shocked Lazio, although they did manage to equalize thirteen minutes later. Everything functioned much better in this game than the previous two. The attack was much more fluid with Verdi and Rodrigo Palacio leading the line. The duo created a lot of trouble for Lazio’s defence, whilst those behind the two worked hard to deny the opponents any space in Bologna’s half. Overall, a point away against Lazio is a very good result, especially considering the bad run of form Bologna found themselves in before this match.
Best Rossoblù: Simone Verdi
Bologna 1-1 Roma
Pulgar (18′)/Dzeko (76′)
Bologna started the game against Roma in a strong fashion. Despite the away side dominating possession wise, Bologna took the lead through Erick Pulgar’s long-range shot after eighteen minutes. Bologna, who had changed their formation back to the regular 4-3-3 for this game, maintained a very compact shape throughout the game. This denied Roma space in Bologna’s half, and the giallorossi struggled to break through. However, Bologna’s lead was equalized fifteen minutes from full-time through Edin Dzeko. Overall, Bologna could be very happy with their performance and the result.
Best Rossoblù: Rodrigo Palacio
Simone Verdi was out injured for some time after he was subbed off against Napoli
earlier this year. Since his return, he has struggled to play at the level we’ve been used to see him at. However, during the last two games of March, against Lazio and Roma, Verdi was very much back to his best. He refound his tempo, and it was at times impossible to get anywhere near him. With Verdi and Palacio both back into the side during those two games, Bologna looked like a completely different side than what had been the case before those games. If Bologna are to climb higher up the table towards the end of the season, it is imperative that Verdi plays to the best of his abilities.
Rodrigo Palacio also returned to the side after a period on the sidelines. Before his return, Roberto Donadoni tried several different players up front, more often than not in the 3-5-1-1 formation. One of Bologna’s struggles this season has been up front. Mattia Destro has been in and out of the team, whilst Felipe Avenatti has barely played. Palacio, on the other hand, has impressed when called upon this season, and when he returned from injury against Lazio, it became very clear how much Bologna have missed the veteran. His movement, technique, but above all smartness sets him apart from Donadoni’s other options up front. The Argentinian is 36 years old, but he is still one of Bologna’s best players. He was Bologna’s best player by far against Roma, causing trouble time and time againt for Roma’s defence.
WHO DID WE EXPECT MORE FROM?
It has been the tale of the season, but Mattia Destro keeps on struggling. The former Roma striker has been in and out of the team a lot of times this season. Just when he has come into the side again, Donadoni has dropped him for the next match. He started the match against Spal, missed an unbelievable chance to equalize right at the end, but that result was down to a terrible team performance more than down to him struggling. He was then benched against Atalanta when Avenatti came in for his first ever Serie A start, before Palacio started the two games against Lazio and Roma. Destro has scored quite a few goals for Bologna since he arrived, but his continued struggles point to one thing: Bologna should be thinking about upgrading on him, as it is clear that he will not become the striker one had hoped for when he first arrived. This summer may be the time to wave goodbye, as it is not working for either part at the moment.
Antonio Mirante served a one-match suspension against Roma for accumulating too many yellow cards. He got his fifth yellow card of the season against Lazio, something which is quite remarkable for a goalkeeper. With Angelo da Costa being out injured, Bologna had to play Antonio Santurro against Roma, his first game ever in Serie A, having also never played in Serie B. That could have ended badly, but thankfully Santurro played a great game. However, Mirante should try to limit the number of cards he is getting. A goalkeeper should not be getting that many cards, and many of them have been for arguing with the referee. An experienced player such as Mirante should really know better.
HOW DID THE TEAM PLAY?
As per usual, Bologna have struggled to be consistent during the last month. A terrible performance against Spal but also in some way against Atalanta was followed by two impressive games versus Lazio and Roma. The two sides from the capital struggled to break through Bologna’s defence, which had three at the back versus Lazio and four against Roma.
Bologna’s attacking displays improved drastically over the course of the month, much thanks to Verdi finding his form and Palacio returning to the line-up. These two are Bologna’s best attacking players by far, and need to play every game when fit.
Bologna’s defensive displays also improved throughout the month. Spal did not create much, but Atalanta got too much space on the counter attack. Lazio and Roma both struggled to create much, but what was interesting was Donadoni’s change in formation. Project three at the back has improved Bologna’s defensive displays, but hampered the attacking output. When the coach decided to return to 4-3-3 against Roma, it was expected that the defence would be weakened. However, Roma struggled against a hard-working Bologna, and it seems as though the defensive security with three at the back has been implemented into the 4-3-3. The game was characterized by Bologna keeping a compact shape, every player working their socks off to deny Roma space, and quick transitions into attack. With a front three of Federico Di Francesco, Palacio and Verdi, Bologna also had enough firepower to trouble the giallorossi.
WHATS NEXT? LOOKING AHEAD TO APRIL
Bologna kick off April with a trip to Calabria to face Crotone. That game is followed by a home game against Hellas Verona and a trip to face Sampdoria. Then, Bologna travel to Sardegna to face Cagliari before the month is rounded off with AC Milan coming to town. Five games in total, and it should definitely be possible to win the ones against Crotone, Verona and Cagliari. Milan look strong at the moment, whilst Sampdoria are on a bit of a losing streak, and Bologna did play an excellent match the last times the two sides met. With no wins to show for in March, Bologna must return to winning ways in April.
What did you think of Bologna’s results in March? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Bologna FC