After finally winning a game at the weekend versus Hellas Verona, Bologna travel to the Marassi to face off against Sampdoria on Wednesday. The Blucerchiati have impressed throughout the season with their free-flowing football, and although they’ve fallen a bit down the table in the latter part of the season, they still find themselves within touching distance of Europa League.
As has been the case for quite some time now, Bologna find themselves in 11th, and after the win against Verona they have got 38 points. That means that a potential win at Sampdoria will take them up on 41 points, the same number with which they finished last season. Even though three points might come tough, Bologna do go into the match with some renewed confidence.
For one, the win against Verona will undoubtedly have been relieving for both the coaching staff and the players. Five games without a win had taken its toll on the morale of the team, and there is nothing better than a win to fix that. Also, Bologna do have good memories from the last time the two sides met, as they won 3-0 even though being a man down for the entire second half. If the rossoblù replicate that performance tomorrow, they will stand a good chance of getting a decent result.
The Verona game stood out from the previous five games in a number of ways. For one thing, Bologna started the game in a strong fashion, dominating possession-wise from the get-go. At the break, they had around 64% of the possession, and really should have been leading by more than the one goal. Also, Antonio Mirante was not troubled at all during the first half, although that changed in the second. The way in which Bologna attacked Verona from the first second of the match must be replicated against Sampdoria as well if they are to get something out of the game.
But, something which has to change from Verona are the players’ ruthlessness in front of goal. Simone Verdi gave Bologna the lead, but it could have ended with lost points had it not been for sloppy finishing by the opponents and Mirante pulling off a couple of decent saves. Sampdoria are a much more ruthless side going forward, and with the likes of Fabio Quagliarella and Duvan Zapata up front, Bologna need to make sure to take their chances to have an extra cushion if those strikers get a chance to score.
Something which was very interesting the last time the two sides met was Roberto Donadoni’s selection. For that game, he threw Sebastien De Maio, who at that point hadn’t played much, into the line-up. De Maio’s physical capabilities completely nullified the threat of Zapata, and was one of the main reasons for why Sampdoria on the day never stood a chance. Even though Giancarlo Gonzalez has returned from injury, De Maio is likely to start tomorrow evening.
As for injuries, Bologna will still be without Vasilis Torosidis and Godfred Donsah. Ladislav Krejci has been training separately, and will not travel to Genova.
Also, Erick Pulgar skipped training yesterday due to fatigue, and there is therefore some uncertainty around him. It would be a huge loss to be without him tomorrow, as he has become such an integral part of the midfield. He is the player in the team that runs the most, he is always free to receive a pass, and most importantly, good at winning the ball. From last season, he has also decreased his number of yellow cards, and as a consequence, one is not as afraid for him to be sent off as was the case last season. However, given the games that are coming up, it could be a wise idea to rest him tomorrow.
A consideration which Donadoni has to make for the game is related to fatigue. Given that the games are coming thick and fast, some rotation is likely for this game, and there will almost certainly be made some changes from the team that started against Verona.
Mattia Destro started againt Verona after being out of the team for some time, and that means that Federico Di Francesco is fully rested and ready for Sampdoria.
Adam Nagy came in and scored the second goal versus Verona, and may start against Sampdoria if Pulgar is deemed not fully fit to play.
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; M’baye, De Maio, Helander, Masina; Poli, Nagy, Dzemaili; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco
The win vs Sampdoria has lifted the spirits of the team considerably, and they go into the game at the Marassi with confidence. Even though the opponent undoubtedly is a tough one, a good result is definitely achievable.
What are your expectations of the match? Let us know in the comments below!