Thiago Motta’s promising Bologna climbed inside the top four after a 2-1 win over Salernitana earlier today, surprising many.
While their rise to the top four was a surprise to some, that wasn’t the case for everyone considering how well the Rossoblu have performed regularly under the former Inter midfielder. While the win ove the Salerno side was close, as a Joshua Zirkzee brace in the first half all but dusted Salernitana’s hopes of a comeback.
Through the season, Motta’s Bologna have looked to control games while boasting of the fifth-best xG against metric in the season (13.3). It isn’t as if they have overperformed heavily on their xG, showing that their rise might well be sustainable and might not be a one-off occassion either.
With Zirkzee leading the line and impressing, Riccardo Orsolini and Lewis Ferguson have also supplied their creative spark and goalscoring nous, typifying what a multi-cultured unit the Rossoblu are and always have been. The club, even before the Saputo takeover, seemed to have a very clear plan behind their signings, as they scouted for talent in the lesser known hubs of the global game and offered them a chance to grow in tactical systems that rely on giving younger talents the freedom to improve.
Even under the late Sinisa Mihajlovic, Bologna were never a side that was considered to be ‘ugly’. They were always nifty and possessed a host of players from all corners of the globe and under Saputo and Motta, the same though process has carried forward.
The team possesses a sense of balance that Motta perhaps learned from managing the likes of Spezia and Genoa in the past and those were projects where he couldn’t always assert his system, but had to constantly adapt to what the squad had. That flexibility and sense of balance is seen even at Bologna, but there is a possession-based approach in place.
They’ve held Juventus, Napoli and Inter to draws this season, beating Lazio 1-0 thanks to a Ferguson goal, and it shows that they can hold their own against the better sides. And unlike Udinese, who were a surprise package last season but faded off later, Bologna’s performance seems much more sustainable, especially since there is a tactical identity already in place.
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN