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Roma Need Victory Over Bologna to Maintain Top Four Pace

Roma desperately needs a win as it welcomes Bologna to the Olimpico.

Bologna FC v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

After a match to forget against Sassuolo, the Giallorossi are back in action with a rare Friday encounter against Bologna at the Olimpico. Saturday’s match in Emilia-Romagna was arguably the worst played under Paulo Fonseca, as Roma fell for the fourth time in seven 2020 matches. Fonseca attributed that lose to tactics more than mentality.

“We’re working to change the mentality, but that’s not the only thing. I got the tactics wrong against Sassuolo and the players got it wrong tactically and technically. We started poorly, lost our balance, but we were a bit better after the break.”

But Roma can ill afford to dwell on the annihilation at the hands of the Neroverdi because Bologna is more than capable of further damaging Roma’s top four hopes.

Last Match

September 22, 2019: Roma 2, Bologna 1

This was a match that was all about the second half. After a deadlocked first stanza, the Giallorossi struck first in the 49th minute. An Aleksandar Kolarov curling free kick left Lukas Skorupski stuck in quicksand and Roma was up 1-0. However, just as fast as Kolarov gave Roma the lead, he ultimately cost them that advantage. The Serb was late tracking back and his foul gifted Bologna a penalty. Nicola Sansone buried the spot kick and things were all square again.

Roma v. Bologna: February 7th. 20:45 CET/2:45 EST. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.

That was just the start of the action though, because in the 85th minute Gianluca Mancini was shown his second yellow. Roma were reduced to ten men and all hope of three points seemed to be lost. Yet, Roma didn’t give in. In a match that saw Roma take 18 shots but only put four on net (raise your hand if you’ve heard that before), it was the last one that ultimately mattered. In stoppage time Jordan Veretout went on a slaloming solo run and dished it to Lorenzo Pellegrini on the right wing, who delivered a mouthwatering cross straight to the forehead of an unmarked Edin Dzeko. Dzeko buried it and Roma won it at the death.

Will Roma Feast on Bolognese?

Siniša Mihajlović’s side has been a bit up and down over the course of the season; hence their spot at 11th in the table. Nonetheless, unlike Roma (who enter this match reeling) Bologna has started the New Year on a fairly positive note. Bologna enters this one coming off back-to-back wins, after adding to the miseries of relegation battling SPAL and Brescia.

However, despite their recent successes, Bologna are susceptible to giving up goals. They have given up one in each of their five matches in 2020 and the Emilia-Romagna based club hasn’t kept a clean sheet since September. That could be just what the doctor ordered for a Roma side that needs to improve it’s finishing.

Fonseca noted that Bologna’s man to man marking is tough, but could play into Roma’s hands.

“Bologna mark you man to man and are really aggressive, so it won’t be an easy game. But Verona are similar in that regard, and we were able to perform well against them.”

On the other side of the ball, Bologna has some talent in attack. The Rossoblu have one of Italy’s best young wingers, Riccardo Orsolini, who has been known to score some lovely goals. However, Bologna’s chief creator, Sansone, will miss out on this match after coming off injured against Brescia. This should help ease the burden on a Roma defense looking to rediscover its solidarity.

This will by no means be an easy match, but it is one that Roma needs three points in. After seeing its four point lead over Atalanta evaporate in the last two weeks, Roma can ill afford more dropped points. Fonseca didn’t seem to worried about the team’s current state.

“We’ve lost a few games, but I will just reiterate that we need to make sure we remain calm and focused. Myself, the club and the players are all united.”

A win ensures that the Giallorossi head to Bergamo on the 15th at worst tied with La Dea for the last Champions League spot. Any less than a win in this one and you’d have to worry about the Giallorossi’s mindset heading into that one.