Coppa Italia: Fourth Round / Team rating: 3 / Top scorer: Diamanti (5)
Bologna fans will be scratching their heads wondering how their team avoided finishing bottom, as an abysmal season terminated a six-year Serie A romance they will struggle to rekindle, writes Mark Siglioccolo.
If there is one positive to be taken from Bologna's dreadful season, it is that at least they were consistent. Unfortunately for those of a Rossoblu persuasion, they were consistently poor. Winning just five games all season, they were somehow spared the ignominy of propping up the table from its very foundations by Livorno, despite the Tuscans winning one game more.
Another minor miracle is that Bologna managed to stave off relegation until the penultimate round, before being slayed by Catania, whom have subsequently fallen through the trap door with them to battle next season in Serie B.
The first 18 games were overseen by Stefano Poli, who regrettably managed just three wins in his short reign. At 48, it is fair to say he is yet to truly prove himself as a topflight manager.
Davide Ballardini was then appointed to pick up the pieces but ended up with a worse record, winning only twice. If his selection was questionable, the risk surely backfired as he failed to inspire a team that were still clearly mourning the loss of their talisman, Alessandro Diamanti.
The fact that the forward's five goals in half a season was enough to crown him the club's top scorer epitomises their whole campaign. Selling your best player in order to reinvest and build for the future can work wonders - Pavel Nedved and Gianluigi Buffon bought from Zinedine Zidane's funds spring to mind, but selling once the transfer window is closed is nothing short of farcical.
Ballardini recently admitted that the club had made poor decisions throughout the season whilst attempting to deflect the blame from himself. If Bologna wish to make a swift return to the topflight then the entire infrastructure needs to be assessed, and it seems likely that Ballardini will be the first casualty.
Both equally as guilty as each other, Davide Ballardini ran the sinking ship for two games more than his predecessor and never looked like steering them to safety. With his short term contract now expired, it looks unlikely that it will be renewed.
Player of the Year - Alessandro Diamanti
Everyone was left scratching their heads when Diamanti departed mid-way through the season to China. Yet his form continued for Guangzhou Evergrande and perhaps only his geographical location in the end cost him a World Cup place.
- Bologna won the fewest games this season with five, yet avoided finishing bottom.
- Although Chievo, Sassuolo and Catania each suffered three more defeats than Bologna, they survived at the Rossoblu's expense as Bologna proved to be draw specialists. They shared the spoils on 14 occasions, second only to Inter with 15.
- Even without discounting Alessandro Diamanti as a forward, Bologna had the most impotent strike force this season. Including his efforts, they scored 13 and without him the remaining forwards managed just eight goals between them.
|13||D||José Ángel Crespo||10||1||-|
|15||M||Francesco Della Rocca||9||-||-|