A season has come and gone, and all we are left with are the memories and the statistics. But who impressed – and who should have done better?
At times, Bologna seemed to be too reliant upon the goals of last summer’s biggest arrival, Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian ended the season with 14 goals (2 penalties) and one single assist.
And he could have had more: According to Sofascore, Arnautovic created 4 big chances during the season, whilst also missing 11 big chances himself. It is still not a season of «what-ifs» for the striker, as he in several games scored crucial goals for Bologna. A total of 15 g/a this year is a good number for the 33 year old in his first season back in Italy.
Musa’s potential for more
Whilst Arnautovic seemed to carry Bologna by himself at times, there were others who contributed. As the season ended, one player we should have gotten more out of is Musa Barrow.
The Gambian struggled at times to find the consistency he showed last year, but he still ended up with a total of 6 goals and 6 assists. A respectable number indeed, but a number which leaves room for improvement in the season to come. In comparison, Barrow provided 16 g/a in the 2020-2021-season.
The third player on the top of the list of goal contributions is Riccardo Orsolini, who ended up with a total of 6 goals (two penalties) and 3 assists.
The season before he had a total of 10 g/a, whilst the season before that he provided a total of 14 g/a. Orsolini’s ceiling is higher than what he provides, but he too easily falls away in games and struggles to provide any real threat. This summer he has been named as a potential target for both Torino and Sassuolo, evidence of his decline in the last year or so.
Interested in the team statistics of the season? Give this piece a read.
During Joey Saputo’s ownership of the club, the ambition has been to get Bologna into the upper half of the table and move closer to a place in Europe. This has never truly been the case as of yet, but at the same time Bologna have had an apparent philosophy of acquiring younger players with potential, developing them, and moving them on for a profit.
We have seen this several times during the last years, as players like Amadou Diawara, Simone Verdi and Takehiro Tomiyasu have all gone on to other clubs for good amounts of money. This summer at least one new departure for good money is expected to happen, and Aaron Hickey is the most probable to leave.
The Scottish left back was a revelation at times this season, scoring a very impressing 5 goals and providing 1 assist as well. Several clubs in England are rumored to hold an interest in him, most notably Arsenal where Hickey once again could link up with Tomiyasu.
As well as Hickey, we saw Mattias Svanberg and Nico Dominguez play important roles the last year, and the Swedish midfielder has been rumored to leave this summer. Project youth at Bologna is clearly paying off, both on the field and economically. This bodes well for the future with the project of restyling the Dall’Ara. Whilst Saputo is still to deliver on his promise of moving Bologna to the upper half of the table, ups and downs are expected with a youthful side.
Whilst one expected more of Orsolini, the one player who really disappointed this season, was Roberto Soriano. Having been such an integral part of the team since arriving in January 2019 on loan, Soriano struggled to impose himself on games this year. Last year he provided 15 g/a, whilst this year he only managed a total of 4, also leading the line with 2 read cards (the same as Adama Soumaoro). Soriano will clearly want to improve those numbers next year.
The last few years I remember writing about Bologna after games against stronger sides, that they often played well, but never really managed to get points. Silly mistakes and lucky opponents often were the case as Bologna lost against teams in the upper half of the table.
This year, however, Bologna several times got very good results against the stronger teams: They drew versus Atalanta and Milan and beat Lazio, Roma and Inter. Bologna were dangerous at times, and never an expected win for the big teams. Had Bologna played as well against the teams in the lower half of the table as they did against those in the upper half, the season could have been a very good one.
PHOTO: Bologna FC