Bologna travel north to face off against Udinese on Sunday, in what will be the last game of the season. A win would take Bologna up to 42 points, one point more than last season, whilst a loss could see them finish only a single point above relegation. Regardless of the result, some serious reflections are needed after the game, as the season has not panned out as hoped. Here is our preview.
Going into the match against Udinese, Bologna find themselves without a win in five games. Although there have been some tough opponents in the likes of Sampdoria, Milan and Juventus, Bologna should have done better as they’ve also met the likes of Cagliari and Chievo. A win at Udinese would in someway send the fans home with a smile on their faces, however, as they are currently only four points above relegation, it is very difficult to see the season as a good one.
Roberto Donadoni took over a few months into the 2015-16 season, got the ship back on track, and eventually finished in 14th with 42 points. The following season resulted in 15th with 41 points. Now, with a bad result in Udine, we will witness another season of a weaker points tally, and even if Bologna do find a way to win, questions need to be asked.
The fan unrest is very apparent at the moment, something Donadoni’s argument with a fan at Casteldebole a few days ago showed. All of the blame cannot be put on the coach, of course, as other people may be equally to blame. There have been some rumors online though about the possible departure of Donadoni after the season has finished, and we’ll soon find out if there is anything to them.
But for now, the focus is on Udinese. They are currently in 15th, only two points above the drop. That means that, just like against Chievo last weekend, Bologna will not get anything easy. They’ll fight till the last minute of the game to make sure that they’ll stay in Serie A, and as Bologna do not have anything particular to fight for, Udinese are the favorites in this game.
As has been the case for the last couple of weeks, Bologna have got some injury problems. During Thursday’s training session, Ibrahim M’baye, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Federico Di Francesco all trained separately, whilst Mattia Destro and Erick Pulgar received treatment. Rodrigo Palacio missed training as well because of a thigh injury.
All of the aforementioned injuries mean that we’ll likely see some changes to the starting line-up on Sunday. Given that Donadoni sticks with the 4-3-3 formation, Emil Krafth is expected to take the place of M’baye, if the Senegalese is deemed not fit to play. Lorenzo Crisetig will probably take Pulgar’s place, whilst Felipe Avenatti should get the chance up front alongside Simone Verdi and Riccardo Orsolini.
One can also expect to see some alterations visavis the fringe players. The likes of Adam Nagy and Cheick Keita could well get a chance to start the game. The latter in particular has shown promising signs when called upon lately, and he should therefore get the opportunity to prove his worth in one more game.
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; Krafth, De Maio, Helander, Keita; Poli, Crisetig, Nagy; Verdi, Avenatti, Orsolini
Last game of the season is soon upon us, and it will undoubtedly be a tough one given the predicament that Udinese find themselves in. Still, Bologna can beat them if they play to the best of their abilities, let’s hope we’ll witness a great end to the season.
What are your expectations of the match? Let us know in the comments below!