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 11th. After a month of five games with three losses, one draw and one win, Bologna find themselves in 12th as Genoa have surpassed them. Still, with 39 points, one additional win this season will see Bologna finish with a better point-tally than last season.
Crotone 1-0 Bologna
The loss against Crotone was a big surprise at the time. Going into the game, Bologna were hoping to end their long run of games without a win, but instead it proved to be one of the worst attacking performances in a long time. Almost no chances from open play, with the only times Bologna threatened Crotone’s goal was when Simone Verdi tried his luck from free-kicks. The team lacked movement, cohesion, togetherness, and the passing was all over the place.
Best Rossoblù: Andrea Poli
Bologna 2-0 Hellas Verona
Verdi (31′), Nagy (90+4′)
Bologna finally returned to winnings ways after five without a win. Simone Verdi scored the first goal of the match, and the second came deep into injury time of the second half. Bologna dominated Verona, especially during the first half, and they should really have scored more goals than what they did. This meant that a result was always within reach for Verona, who came very close to equalizing several times during the second half. However, Bologna won the game after Adam Nagy scored the second goal.
Best Rossoblù: Simone Verdi
Sampdoria 1-0 Bologna
The game against Sampdoria ended in the worst possible way, with Duván Zapata scoring the winner with the last kick of the ball. The game was overall very tight, and Bologna did not deserve to lose. However, when one doesn’t score, one always stands the chance of losing through moments of sloppy defending. Sempre Bologna did not get the chance to watch the game, and therefore this review is not complete.
Best Rossoblù: Simone Romagnoli (as per WhoScored’s ratings)
Cagliari 0-0 Bologna
Vacation-vibes was the theme of the game from Bologna as they sat pretty in 11th before the game. Cagliari needed the win more than Bologna as they were fighting to avoid relegation, but the game ended without goals. Antonio Mirante pulled off a couple of magnificent saves during the game, whilst Simone Verdi and Leonardo Pavoletti missed good chances for either side. Still, a point away from home and the first clean sheet on the road for the first time since September, and Roberto Donadoni could be happy about his team’s result.
Best Rossoblù: Antonio Mirante
Bologna 1-2 AC Milan
De Maio (74′)/Calhanoglu (34′), Bonaventura (45′)
After an abysmal game in Sardegna the week before, Bologna redeemed themselves with a good performance against Milan, despite losing the game. The tempo was higher, the passing more incisive, and there was more ruthlessness going forward. However, AC Milan won in the end, but that could have been different if Bologna had had a bit of luck throughout the game. At 1-0 to Milan, Bologna got a goal disallowed for handball, but the decision by the referee was very questionable as Rodrigo Palacio had his arm down by his side, and the ball was shot straight at him from a short distance by an opponent. Moments after that call, Milan went up 2-0. Riccardo Orsolini started the game as part of the trident in attack, and was very positive during the game.
Best Rossoblù: Riccardo Orsolini
Simone Verdi has been brilliant during April. This should come as no surprise, but it is a plus nevertheless as he has been struggling to play to the best of his abilities after the injury he got versus Napoli in late January. In April, he returned to the usual brilliant displays we’ve been so used to see from him this season. Almost impossible to get anywhere near, scoring goals, setting up his teammates, and overall being the focal point of Roberto Donadoni’s attack. As we now move in to the last month of the season, with only three games remaining, Verdi’s stint at Bologna is, unfortunately, coming to an end. His rejection of Napoli in January was very surprising, albeit positive, but it would be very strange if he does not leave Bologna this summer. His performances this season, with eight goals and ten assists in Serie A, has earned him the chance to go to a bigger club. It would be a story of the ages if he were to stay at Bologna past this summer as part of Joey Saputo’s project of taking Bologna towards the summit of Italian football, but several big clubs are rumored to be interested in him, and with that comes a great deal of money which the club cannot decline. Nevertheless, Bologna should appreciate Verdi as long as he stays in the city of the porticos.
Simone Romagnoli is another player who has been promising for the last month. The defender arrived on loan in January, but has seen his opportunities been limited. The last month, however, saw Romagnoli play several games due to injuries to the central defence. As Donadoni made the shift to three at the back for a few games, Romagnoli stepped into the middle of the trio, and he played with a sense of security which was very surprising given his limited experience at the highest level. He is very calm on the ball, his agility makes it easy for him to make interceptions, whilst he also is a decent passer of the ball. It is still early days for him at Bologna, of course, but given that the three remaining games this season are of little importance, Romagnoli should be given the chance to play to see whether he continues to shine. If he does, Bologna should definitely use their option to buy him.
Riccardo Orsolini has also impressed me the last month. When Donadoni decided to
go back to three at the back versus Sampdoria, it was Federico Di Francesco who started as the right wing back. However, for the next game, versus Cagliari, Orsolini got the nod. This didn’t make it easy for the winger, as that position is not his favored place to play. As a wing back, he has to provide width, something he doesn’t like as he thrives on cutting inside towards the opposition goal. And for this you cannot blame him, as it’s his nature. However, Donadoni saw that it did not work, and after sixty minutes, he made the change to a back four, and Orsolini was able to move further forward. Instantly, one could see the change this made for him, and this continued in the next game when Donadoni went for his regular 4-3-3 from minute one, with Orsolini part of the front three. He was Bologna’s best player on the day, and very unlucky not go have a goal to his name due to the referee’s questionable decision to disallow it. Nevertheless, Orsolini proved in April that he is a very talented played when utilized right, and hopefully, he’ll continue this in May.
WHO DID WE EXPECT MORE FROM?
It has been the tale of the season, but Mattia Destro was out of the team yet again in April. He has been struggling with an injury at times, but when fit he still have had to sit on the bench. As we now move into the last month of the season, one can wonder if we now are getting closer to a farewell. Destro’s period in Bologna has not been what everyone hoped for when he arrived in 2015, and it may well be that the best for everyone, Destro included, is that he finds himself another club where he can get a fresh start. Even though one can be disappointed with how Destro’s season has turned out, some perspective is needed. He has six goals this season, with only Verdi having more. Rodrigo Palacio, a player whom I have praised for his contribution since his arrival last summer, has only got four goals. Bologna should have a striker that guarantees at least ten goals a season, and this is something which needs addressing this summer. With Destro perhaps leaving, and Palacio yet to sign a new contract, Riccardo Bigon has got a lot of work ahead of him.
HOW DID THE TEAM PLAY?
Donadoni’s decision to return to three at the back versus Sampdoria did not work out as he would have hoped. He returned to 4-3-3 after sixty minutes versus Cagliari in the following game, and that formation makes it easier for the attacking players to thrive. I am guessing that this will continue in May, although it may well be that three at the back is a good idea versus Juventus and their attacking power. Nevertheless, given the little importance of the remaining games, it is understandable that Donadoni changes his approach to games as well as giving some of the fringe players like Romagnoli and Orsolini the chance to impress.
WHATS NEXT? LOOKING AHEAD TO MAY
Bologna kick off May with a trip to face off against Juventus. The month consists of only three games, and the game against Juventus is followed by a home game against Chievo, and an away match against Udinese.
These three games are of little importance as Bologna cannot climb much higher in the table, nor fall down into the relegation battle. However, they can still end up with more points than last season, and the players should therefore give it everything they got to make sure that that happens. Juventus is undoubtedly the most difficult game, whilst the latter two are winnable.
What did you think of Bologna’s results in April? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Bologna FC