Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Julian De Martinis On August - 16 - 2011

Serie A 2011-12 Club Preview: Bologna F.C. 1909

Bologna captain Di Vaio (original photo by Reuters)

2010-11 Recap

Bologna had a respectable campaign last season, avoiding relegation by five points after being docked a total of three - one for unpaid taxes and two for unpaid wages. Financial difficulties aside, the Rossoblu would have finished tied for fourteenth place without such penalties. The side proved to be one of the more frugal in the league, scoring a mere 35 goals in 38 games while conceding 52, the third worst record last season.

A true bright spot club captain Marco Di Vaio was the usual suspect.  The 34-year-old bomber ended the season with 19 goals, the fifth most potent striker in the league. Thus while last campaign was far from an overwhelming success, the side withstood financial turmoil to remain safely in Serie A. Di Vaio is without a doubt Bologna’s company man!

Key Acquisitions

Dejan Stojanovic, Alessandro Diamanti, Jean-Francois Gillet, Nico Pulzetti, Federico Agliardi, Robert Acquafresca

Key Departures

Cristiano Lupatelli, Miguel Britos, Emiliano Viviano, Albin Ekdal

The Summer So Far

Pierpaolo Bisoli’s side have had a busy transfer window thus far, bringing in a total of 17 players and offloading 14.The key departure is undoubtedly the loss of Emiliano Viviano, who infamously rejoined Inter after a nearly comical mistake from Bologna during the blind auction to resolve his co-ownership situation. The Italy international left massive shoes in his wake, which the side hope to fill in the form of former Bari captain, Jean-Francois Gillet. The other potentially brilliant acquisition has been Alessandro Diamanti, the 28-year-old trequartista from Brescia, whose job it will be to add a much needed spark in the side’s attack. Once promising Italy youth international and current journeyman Roberto Acquafresca has been acquired from Genoa on loan, as well, whilst Albin Ekdal made his return to Juventus this summer.

As a whole, Bologna’s strategy seems to have been offloading veterans and importing youth, as the average age of the arrivals has been 23.8 years whilst the departures averaged 25.8 years. Diamanti, Acquafresca and Di Vaio stand out as the trio to watch in the side, with enough talent and poise on paper to potentially wear down most defenses in the league.

What Next?

Whilst the Rossoblu have done well to fill in gaps made during the mercato for example, losing two goalies and bringing in three- several question marks still remain. The terrible defense from last season has been reinforced only with three centerbacks and a fullback, but none of whom are truly proven in Serie A. The side have unquestionably made bigger signings in attack than in defense, which may well be quite reliant on Gillet to bail them out of safety. Thus while the side should struggle less in attack this season, defense still remains a potential issue for the team.

Man To Watch

Gillet should prove that he remains to be in Serie A even if his Bari side did not, and Diamanti’s quality is well known, but this could very well be a make-or-break season for Roberto Acquafresca. In a total of 134 matches in Serie A the striker has notched 35 goals, totaling as a less than stellar .261 goals/game ratio. Since the beginning of the 05/06 season the player has been involved in an astonishing twelve transfers, often spending a mere six months at a side before moving on. His most successful season was on loan to Cagliari during 08/09 where he scored 14 goals in 36 games. Since then however he has failed to reach double digits, and is quickly in danger of becoming an eternal journeyman rather than the potential superstar he showed he could be on the Azzurrini with 11 goals in 18 games. At only 23 he still has time to come good, but not much more before he is written off.

What to Expect

Bologna’s reinforcements should greatly help their offense, even if they still may be quite defensively porous. Nevertheless, between the front trio and Gillet the side should prove to be one of the more solid ones in the league and should easily avoid relegation. A mid-table finish is easily within reach as well, potentially extending to the lower upper half of the table depending upon how the new defense can gel.

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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