The Serie A season 2017-18 is history, and Bologna finished in 15th with 39 points. In the season review, we’ll quickly sum up the season. In the second part of this series, we give you our reflections on the last nineteen games of the season. Without further ado, here is part two:
Serie A 2017-18: January – May
Bologna kicked off the new year with a disappointing loss against Torino, a side which at the time was struggling quite badly. That was followed up by a thumping win over Benevento, before the team came down to earth again versus Napoli in the next game.
February was kicked off with two consecutive losses against Fiorentina and Inter, before two wins were achieved against Sassuolo and Genoa. This was followed up by a game against Spal in the beginning of March, a time of the season where momentum could have been gathered towards a successful end to the campaign. However, Bologna won no games in March as they lost against Spal and Atalanta, and drew against Lazio and Roma.
April saw Bologna win only a single game, against Hellas Verona, losing against Crotone, Sampdoria and Milan, drawing against Cagliari. The last month of the season consisted of three games, all which ended with a loss.
The second part of the season witnessed Bologna fall further down the table. The relative strong autumn was not built on, and after Roberto Donadoni’s side secured their continued Serie A status, no games were won. In some games, it looked as if the players had already gone on vacation.
A period of five games without a win stretching from the win against Genoa in late February, to the win against Verona in the middle of April was the worst period of the season, a period which saw several teams pull away from Bologna, leaving the upper half of the table unreachable.
This period also saw the teams behind them creep closer. The win against Verona could have been the start of a strong finish to the season, but as is clear now, that was the team’s last three-pointer of the season, and as the season drew to a close, Sassuolo, Genoa, Chievo and Udinese all pulled ahead in the table.
Finishing the season in 15th with 39 points cannot be seen in any other way than a disappointment. After nineteen games, Bologna were on their way to supersede the 40-point mark, and even creep close to 50, and to then finish with a mere 39 is not good enough.
The trajectory of Bologna’s development under Donadoni has unfortunately been downward. His first season saw Bologna finish with 42 points. His second season at the club saw Bologna drop down to 41 points. The expectations were high for Donadoni to improve this year, especially because the squad was strengthened considerably.
In came Giancarlo Gonzalez, Andrea Poli and Rodrigo Palacio, to name a few. These players formed a new core in the team, and for Donadoni to still not manage to improve his team’s point tally is simply not good enough. Although everything cannot be put on the coach, the pressure is mounting on him.
There will most certainly be a review of Donadoni quite soon. He has still got one year left on his contract, but there have whispers about his potential departure. Bologna’s owner, Joey Saputo, is highly ambitious and will not be happy about the season. Add to that the fan unrest, something which became apparent when Doandoni and a fan argued at Casteldebole, and one can understand if a change is made this summer.
It all remains to be seen.
* After writing this, Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Roberto Donadoni is on the verge of leaving Bologna after meating with the owner, Joey Saputo.