A young team filled with inconsistent talent and plenty of gaps to fill, Bologna will have a future-defining season, writes Dominic Zenti
Following a respectable 15th place finish, Bologna look to rely on a talented, albeit inconsistent front line to save them from falling back in to the second tier. Boasting a young, talented attacking line-up with the likes of Simone Verdi and Ladislav Krejci, on paper one would look safe to say that the side from Emilia-Romagna are a safe bet for a mid-table finish, if not even higher, assuming things go in the right direction. However, as with the squad itself, the deeper you go into things, the more likely it all seems to fall apart.
New acquisitions this campaign have allowed for Coach Roberto Donadoni to beef up the middle of the park with much more depth in midfield and the back-line is still brimming with known players such as Antonio Mirante and Vasilis Torosidis, as well as those determined to make a name for themselves along the likes of full-back Adam Masina, providing some much needed depth and coverage.
The midfield has been boosted by free agent Andrea Poli from Milan and a player of his stature brings valuable experience. Bologna are best represented by Saphir Taider and Adam Nagy: brilliant on their day, capable of playing beautiful free-flowing football with an eye for a pass, as well as a basket-case of poor decision making, botched targets and horrible mistakes.
Attacking wise, unfortunately, is where everything seems to fall apart. It’s true that a trident of Ladislav Krejci, Mattia Destro and Simone Verdi seems more worthy of a Europa League side rather than a team desperately staving off relegation, but it is key to remember that only one injury, suspension or dispute stands between that and an attack incapable of putting anything into the net. This is where things get tricky for the Veltri, since a club of Bologna’s stature must always look to compete on as many fronts possible, proper rotation will prove to be a make or break factor, rotation that simply doesn’t seem possible given the options off the bench.
Despite the fact that Donadoni has a surplus of options available in both midfield and defence, the same cannot be said of the front line. Last season, Bologna scored only 40 Serie A goals in 38 games, firing blanks in 14 of those rounds. Destro was the only player to reach double figures in terms of goals scored and that was after missing dozens of chances. Blerim Dzemaili was second top scorer on eight and he has since left for Montreal Impact.
With the lack of genuine depth and all-important league position at stake, don’t be surprised to see the Rossoblu drop out of the Coppa Italia in the early rounds due to a poorly selected XI. With Serie A in mind, Bologna will go all out to finish as high as possible, but mid-table seems to be a realistic, perhaps even optimistic prediction based on previous seasons and the current squad within the club.
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