Four wins in the last five – Motta ball taking shape

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Well how about that for the derby win against Sassuolo. 3-0 and the emphatic performance. At the time of writing this piece, Bologna are sitting very nicely in 10th going into the World Cup break, although there are a couple of teams that are playing later Sunday who both could go above Bologna with a win.

That is four wins in the last five games, and that’s not even counting the Coppa win.

Still, that is a massive improvement since Thiago Motta took the reigns. The new coach started slowly, losing versus Empoli and Juventus, drawing against Sampdoria, and then a loss versus Napoli.

It all looked a bit grim at that point, before a narrow win over Cagliari in the Coppa set Bologna on the road to greener pastures.

Three wins in a row versus Lecce, Monza and Torino. Suddenly Bologna looked like a well drilled team. Even against Inter, Bologna started the game in a good fashion, before it all kind of imploded and they went on to lose quite emphatic. But, to then go on after that huge disappointment and beat Sassuolo in the fashion they did Saturday. Ooof. Not only was the score very dominant, but it was merited after a very controlled display.

Marko Arnautovic got another goal, taking his tally this season into a very impressing 8 goals. Are we seeing a Bologna striker reaching 20 goals this season? I think so, barring any long injury for the Austrian.

Lewis Ferguson continued his fine form of late with a BANGER of a goal. Michel Aebischer even got in on the action with his first goal for the club, after a very good cross by Jhon Lucumi.

Thiago Motta has really got the team gelling of late, and the thing I find most interesting is his team selection and, more often than not, the number of central midfielders he likes do deploy at the same time.

Last night, in a 4-2-3-1, he played Gary Medel and Nicolas Dominguez at the base of midfield, with Lewis Ferguson in the number 10, Roberto Soriano on the left hand side and Michel Aebischer on the opposite flank. Five naturally central midfielders on the pitch at the same time is quite extraordinary, but is seems as Motta favours players with a big engine and good passing rather than the natural winger.

We have seen Aebischer play on the right for several games this season, whilst Soriano on the left was the surprise yesterday. And I do think that a player like Aebischer gives us something else, and the opposition something else to think about than the traditional winger that either cuts inside or goes to the line for a cross.

We are also seeing a more compact team and better defending of late. Stefan Posch at right back has brought security and physicality, but still not at the cost of an attacking outlet down that right side. Lucumi is developing nicely and Adama Soumaoro is starting to look like the player he was for Bologna when he first signed on loan a couple of seasons ago.

On the left side of defence we have seen Motta switching it up with Andrea Cambiasso and Charalampos Lykogiannis. Before the season started, I had high hopes that the former would emulate his form at Genoa and replicate Aaron Hickey and his stellar contributions last season, but is has, in fact, been the Greek defender who has proved to be the best option so far this season, providing grit and experience.

Now, unfortunately, we’re without a Bologna game until the new year, facing off against Roma on the 4th of January. With the performances of late, optimism should be high for the second part of the season.

PHOTO: Bologna FC

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