Bologna travel to Calabria on Sunday to face relegation-threatened Crotone. Having endured a tough period of four games without a win, it is essential that Bologna return to winnings ways. But, everything is not grim, as Roberto Donadoni’s men can take lots of positives from the last two games against Lazio and Roma.
Going into the match against Crotone, Bologna find themselves in eleventh, seven points behind Torino in tenth. During March we were witness to the teams in front of Bologna pulling away, as Bologna failed to win either of their four matches. However, there were some positive developments towards the latter end of the month. Although Bologna performed miserably against Spal and Atalanta, the performances against Lazio and Roma were very encouraging. With two points to show for those two games, Donadoni’s men go into the game against Crotone with lifted spirits.
Donadoni returned to 4-3-3 versus Roma, and we’ll discuss that below, but one other interesting thing about the game against Roma but also the one against Lazio was the selection of Vasilis Torosidis. Against Lazio, with Donadoni at that point still sticking to three at the back, the Greek international came into the side at the expense of Federico Di Francesco at right wing back. This drastically altered Bologna’s overall shape, as Torosidis stayed wide in contrast to what Di Francesco did in the games before Lazio. Torosidis was picked for his second consecutive game versus Roma, but this time part of a back four. His experience proved vital several times during the game as he made some vital interceptions in the nick of time in defence. With Ibrahima M’baye having struggled a bit earlier in the season, it now seems as Torosidis has seized the opportunity and made the right full-back position his.
After Donadoni made the change to three at the back, the attacking output has not been
good enough. With only two creative players up front, it has often proved too easy for the opponent to deal with. When the coach returned to 4-3-3 against Roma, the front three was composed of Di Francesco, Rodrigo Palacio and Simone Verdi. That trident is a handful for most Serie A defenders, and they proved lethal at times versus the Giallorossi.
The last time Bologna faced Crotone was in November, a game that is above all remembered for Verdi scoring two free-kick goals, one with each foot. Despite being in the lead at half-time, Bologna allowed Crotone to come back into the match after the break, and the side from Calabria eventually won the game 3-2.
Despite losing against them in November, Bologna should have enough quality to beat them now. Crotone are currently in 18th, two points from safety. They come from a loss against Torino in mid-week, losing the game 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick by Andrea Belotti. With only eight games remaining this season, Crotone find themselves in the thick of the relegation battle, and they are one of the favorites to go down alongside Hellas Verona and doomed Benevento.
Bologna do not have many absences going into the game in Calabria. Angelo da Costa will most likely not travel, but Antonio Mirante have served his one-match suspension and will return to the line-up. Emil Krafth was injured during the international break, but the Swede has now returned to full training and is available for selection this weekend.
There is some uncertainty around Blerim Dzemaili, who did not feature against Roma last weekend. He has been training separately this week, whether or not he’ll take part is still unknown, but our guess is that Godfred Donsah continues in midfield.
Torosidis was substituted in the second half versus Roma, and has been rested for a couple of games since, but he has now returned to full training and will most likely start ahead of M’baye.
Given the performance against Roma with 4-3-3, it would be quite surprising if Donadoni decides to alter his formation this weekend. That means 4-3-3 and roughly the same team that faced Roma.
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; Torosidis, De Maio, Helander, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Donsah; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco
Coming from a period of four games without a win, it is essential that Bologna find a way to win against Crotone. Being in possession of the best squad, that should definitely be possible.
What are your expectations of the game? Let us know in the comments down below.
Photo: Bologna FC