The first of 38 league matches is done, and it ended with a narrow 2-1-defeat at Lazio. Even though Lazio started in the best manner, it all quickly changed as their new goalkeeper picked up the ball outside the area and subsequently got a red card. And that just five minutes into the game.
At that point, I was still quite sure that a win, or even a point, would be hard to come by, such is the quality of Lazio compared to Bologna.
The game was a bit more even after the sending off, naturally, and Bologna managed to impose themselves more on the game, and did create a few half good chances, and especially Lorenzo De Silvestri should have scored when he went clean through on goal.
Not long after, though, Nicola Sansone went down inside the penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Marko Arnautovic was never in doubt, and Bologna took the lead.
It all seemed fine and dandy going into the break, but just a minute or so before half-time, Adama Soumaoro did what he has done several times before, he went into a silly challenge when already on a yellow, and both teams were down to ten men going into the break.
Into the second half, Lazio naturally grew more into the game again, and eventually De Silvestri was unlucky to put the ball in the back of his own net, before who else but Ciro Immobile gave Lazio the lead and the win.
What did we learn?
Well, for one thing, mistakes cost points. Last season, Bologna got 4 straight red cards and 3 red cards after two yellows. Only five teams had a worse disciplinary records last year, and Bologna have now started in the same fashion this season.
And hey, I am not against a red card every now and then, but this statistic points to a lack of cleverness, and an inability to consider the repercussions when going into a challenge. Soumaoro has, unfortunately, been an expert of going into a risky challenge when already on a yellow. He is not the only one, as we have seen the likes of Nicolas Dominguez, Jerdy Schouten and others do the same.
I think this ultimately is a result of instructions from the coach. Sinisa Mihajlovic want the team to play aggressively, and so you should to a certain degree. But there comes a point when you simply cannot throw yourself into a challenge, and that point is when you are on a yellow. Had Soumaoro not done this against Lazio, Bologna might have gotten a good result.
The lack of creativity
Another thing that was quite apparent against Lazio, was the lack of any real firepower going forward. We had Arnautovic doing his things, and Nicola Sansone was vibrant at times. You cannot deny that playing against a team like Lazio will hamper the forwards, and that the sending off does it even more, but I did find Bologna’s attacking play disappointing. It is very clear that an attack of Arnautovic and Sansone is far from enough.
Musa Barrow was thrown onto the field in search for a late goal, and I did think he looked more like the usual self, albeit a bit rusty. His willingness to challenge a defender, his pace and power can be a handful for many defenders in the league, and in my opinion he should be starting alongside Arnautovic.
I also think Mihajlovic should set up his team with three forwards or wingers, because the 3-5-2 simply does not provide enough options up front. Here’s to hoping that 3-5-2 was just because Lazio were the opponent, and that the coach will revert when Hellas Verona comes to town this weekend.
Bologna seem to have secured the services of two new central defenders, with the official announcements to be imminent. Jhon Lucumi will be joining from Genk, and Joaquin Sosa from Nacional in Uruguay. I cannot say I know much about either player, but they will, at the very least, provide numbers in defence. That will come in handy, especially with Soumaoro now serving a suspension.
Oh, according to Corriere dello Sport, Sampdoria are apparently very close to acquiring Emanuele Vignato. If Giovanni Sartori gets rid of one of our most promising midfielders, what the hell is he thinking?
Until next time.
PHOTO: Bologna FC