Defensive improvement for one-man Bologna

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Long time no seen. The last year or so has been busy, and therefore the blogging has been minimal, but hopefully I’ll get to be a bit more active from now on. Bologna finished the Serie A-season with a 1-0 win versus Genoa, and ended up in 13th in the standings on 46 points.

A defensive improvement

Compared to last season, that’s one position worse in the standings, even with five points more. Make of that what you will. It is safe to say that this season was a mediocre one, where Bologna never truly managed to fight for a place in the upper half of the table, whilst staying well and truly clear of the dog-fight at the bottom.

What I did find interesting about the season are the numbers of goals scored and conceded. This year we scored 44. That’s seven less than the year before (51). This year we conceded 55, ten goals less than the year before (65). While it’s safe to say that Bologna’s defence have been pretty poor during Sinisa Mihajlovic’s tenure, we did see a shift in strategy last fall, and the numbers at the end of the season back it up. The coach’s decision to move to a 3 man defence (or a 5 man defence, depending on who you ask), clearly worked wonders.

One-man Bologna?

While Bologna improved defensively, one must also admit that Bologna scored seven goals less than the year before. This despite bringing in Marko Arnautovic, who ended up as the club’s top-scorer with 14 goals in Serie A, the best league output for a player at Bologna since the promotion from Serie B back in 2015.

This shines a light on Bologna struggling going forward, as the Austrian striker scored approximately 31 % of Bologna’s goals this year (14 of 44).

Arnautovic clearly proved that he still is a quality player, and that Bologna did the correct thing going after him last summer. This summer, Bologna should, and are rumored to be, on the look-out for an alternative goal-scorer. One man scoring a third of the club’s goals is not sustainable in the long run.

Lots of names

Which brings us to this summer, and what a summer it can turn out to be. Normally a World-Cup summer, but thanks to a few money-loving men on top of the footballing-pyramid, we get a tournament in November/December instead (WTF!?!).

With no games on the agenda, the focus turns even more to the transfer marked, and whilst Bologna are still to make any player moves, the off-season has still started of in a very positive way. As expected, president Joey Saputo went for a change of direction in the technical area of the club, and appointed Giovanni Sartori from Atalanta as the new technical director.

Sartori comes with a great reputation and has been a part of Atalanta’s epic rise to the top of Italian football in recent years. As Sartori arrived, Riccardo Bigon has left his role as sporting director, and Marco Di Vaio will now fill this role alongside Sartori.

And with the arrival of Sartori, the rumors have been coming in from east, west, south and north, and it looks like Bologna are seeking players for every position.

In defence, Matteo Lovato of Atalanta has been mentioned a lot. The same has Andrea Cambiaso of Genoa and Ayrton Lucas at Flamengo (both full backs), The last two make a lot of sense given that both Aaron Hickey and Mitchell Dijks are expected to leave.

As mentioned above, there has also been talk of a deputy to Arnautovic, and the latest names here are Federico Bonazzoli at Sampdoria and Milan Djuric at Salernitana. There has also been talk of Mattias Svanberg, Riccardo Orsolini and Emanuel Vignato leaving, and if so, one should not be surprised to see a midfield-addition or two. It is shaping up to be a very busy summer.

PHOTO: Bologna FC

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