Pierpaolo Bisoli’s sacking on Tuesday was hardly surprising given Bologna’s start to the season. The Rossoblu are rock bottom going into the international break with just one point secured from five games, scoring twice and conceding 10 in the process. Bisoli’s homecoming to his native province has not been a happy one and marks the culmination of a bad 12 months as the former Cagliari coach. He was axed by Sardinian side only last November following a string of results at a club where he spent six years as a player.
The Rossoblu were handed a tough start to the season when the fixtures were released back in July. Local rivals Fiorentina, Juventus, Inter and Udinese all within the first six rounds would be classed as tricky for any side in Serie A and this is without the cancellation of the opening rounds fixture against Roma. Defeats away at la Viola and to the Friuliani were perhaps to be expected, but a home defeat to lowly Lecce, in which the Felsinei were comprehensively outplayed, will have been particularly galling for the Bologna faithful.
The highlight of Bisoli’s tenure was a creditable 1-1 draw away at Juventus during which they had to withstand waves of Bianconeri pressure and they were then unlucky to run into a revitalised Inter under Claudio Ranieri, who despite this still left it late to secure victory having been aided by a Bologna red card and subsequent penalty.
Nevertheless, Bologna have decided that the results were unacceptable and they have now turned to another locally raised coach in the shape of Stefano Pioli. Already sacked once this season after a now famous 91 day spell as Coach of Palermo, the Emilian coach will be looking to implement his skills to get the best out of a squad that has so far struggled to recapture the dogged form that ensured their survival last season.
Known for his meticulous planning and experimental methods, Pioli is relatively inexperienced as a Coach in Serie A, completing just one full season with Chievo, but he has shown impressive ability in Serie B with Grosseto, Modena and Sassuolo and his favoured formation of 4-3-1-2 should in theory work well with the new group of players at his disposal. However while to be experimental might be in Pioli’s nature, basics are what the Bologna side is in most need of currently. At the back, conceding an average of two goals a game needs to be identified as priority while at the other end of the field, one goal in open play, from defender Daniele Portanova, simply isn’t good enough for a squad which contains strikers such as Capocannoniere contender Marco Di Vaio and Robert Acquafresca to be coupled with creativity from Alessandro Diamanti and Gaston Ramirez.
Pioli, a European Cup winner with Juventus, has the international break to regroup the Bologna squad, start afresh and instil part of his own winning mentality into a new determined confidence from his players. The first six games he faces are away impressive Novara and then trips to former clubs Chievo and Palermo while Lazio, Atalanta and local rivals Cesena are the visitors to the Emilia Romagna capital, with the latter looking to be an early relegation six-pointer.
Those six games will take Pioli into the middle of November, by which time the direction of Bologna’s season is likely to be clearer. Bologna will certainly be hoping that a quick revival in fortunes following a change of Coach will occur in a similar style to that of Palermo following Pioli’s own departure from the Sicilian club.
It has been a turbulent and unstable period in the history of one of Italy’s most illustrious clubs and the start has heaped more woes onto a club which has faced a great deal over recent campaigns. Last season they surprised many by battling against all obstacles for survival so admirably and it is essential the fresh start for the Rossoblu captures this old spirit of survival if Pioli is going to attain a successful turnaround.