Written by: Massimo Sampaolesi. Translated by: Carlotta Belluzzi.
By analysing Sunday’s match against Torino in a calm and collected fashion, which should be the way to do it (even though that is not always the case), Bologna came out as a team that still seems to be missing something. This should not necessarily be taken in a negative way, but just at face value. The transfer market is still open, and, should reinforcements come to the team, everyone would be pleased, especially after our bad defeat against Cittadella in Coppa Italia (which was, by the way, the last major trophy won by BFC, along with the Intertoto). And yet, we should not let all our ambitions rely on the transfer market alone: what will really make the difference, and what will determine our performance this season, will be the players’ ability to play as a cohesive team, and overcome any difficult moments.
In fairness, much positive has come from our match against Torino: everyone, included the die-hard optimists, was fearing such a difficult first match, against a team that was already well placed last year, and is now hoping to do even better. And yet, despite all the VAR drama stirred by Mihajlovic, Bologna responded well to the challenge. Not only was the team able to maintain a good control over the field (as the statistics confirm), but, at times, it also came up with interesting ideas – and proof of this is the declaration of the very much Torino-obsessed Piero Chiambretti, who admitted that if Bologna had won the match, it would have been a deserved victory. Now, this might be too strong an appraisal, but still, it confirms that Poli & co. played a good match – if the supporters of the opposing team say so themselves!
Bologna did especially well in shortening the distance and playing a close-up game when Torino had the ball (and, according to the statistics, possession was the only category in which Torino performed better than Bologna). Therefore, BFC did a good job of defending themselves: this ability, in a very much opposing trend in our Serie A, where more and more goals are being scored during match days, will be the foundation on which to build up our ambitions for this season. To be more precise, rather than a strong appraisal of the quality of our defensive line (which is nevertheless standing strong, thanks to Mimmo Maietta), this is more a matter of being able to defend ourselves in every area of the pitch, and in any situation. This season, Donadoni appears to be focussing a lot on this aspect: it is no coincidence that during three occasions, Mattia Destro, our main striker, went to the support of Torosidis on the defence line. Was this a tactical choice? Probably. But, more than anything, it was a choice of character and personality.
Indeed, personality. An element that could reveal itself to be fundamental for the growth of our group: a new, but game-changing factor. And when thinking in terms of personality, the focus of this growth could be Andrea Poli, a newcomer who is perhaps being underrated by those who are still awaiting “the big catch”: the former Milan player left the pitch exhausted, accompanied by the incessant clapping of the BFC fans. He has already shown such determination and grit, that we perhaps will not need to lament the departure of Dzemaili anymore, and the way in which he was able to create cohesion in the midfield area and on the defence line, made many BFC supporters smile with satisfaction. In short, the fans are starting to fall in love with this midfielder, and perhaps some young boys and girls already have his photo stuck on their school’s homework diaries (do those still exist?).