Season Preview: Bologna – Can Di Vaio save Bologna again?

Last Season: Bologna 2010-11 season review
The Squad: In one of the biggest farces of the summer, Bologna surrendered Italy international ‘keeper Emiliano Viviano to Inter after a paperwork error in their transfer bid. However, they have moved quickly to replace him by bringing in Jean-Francois Gillet from Bari. Gillet is an excellent signing and will prove a more than adequate replacement for the outgoing Viviano.
There has been much speculation linking Uruguayan star Gaston Ramirez with a move away from the club but his many suitors are yet to meet Bologna’s asking price of €15 million. The winger is likely to leave before the end of the transfer window but his destination is still unclear.
Reinforcements have arrived such as Alessandro Diamanti and Roberto Acquafresca, both of whom are exciting signings for the club and will provide support for the exceptional Marco Di Vaio. Di Vaio’s haul of 19 goals made up over half of those scored by his side all season as he rescued them from relegation almost single-handed.
Diamanti brings creativity to a side that, other than Ramirez, is sorely lacking in spark while Acquafresca will take some of the goal-scoring burden from the shoulders of Di Vaio.
The club will continue to rely on the Uruguayan contingent even if Ramirez leaves with Diego Perez and Henry Gimenez playing key roles in midfield. The steel provided by Perez was so often key last season and Bologna will be hoping for more of the same.
Coach: Pierpaolo Bisoli – While his experience of coaching in Serie A is limited to a few unsuccessful months at Cagliari last season, Bisoli’s reputation is built on a series of fine results in the lower leagues including guiding Cesena to an historic promotion in the 2009-10 season.
He takes over from Alberto Malesani who, despite guiding Bologna unexpectedly to safety, was sacked when the club’s form took a serious downturn towards the end of the season. When they were humiliated 4-0 at home by already relegated Bari in the last game of the season, the side were without a win since March.
Bisoli will rely on senior players and especially Di Vaio as he attempts to steer the club clear of relegation again and will likely base his side around a solid backbone. He will look to the experience of Gillet in goal, Daniele Portanova in defence, Perez in midfield and Di Vaio in attack to pull his team through difficult situations.
Diamanti and Acquafresca will be tasked with assisting Di Vaio in attack and will likely line up as a front three with Diamanti at trequartista, Acquafresca as seconda punta and Di Vaio as prima punta.
Player to look out for: Marco Di Vaio – Bologna’s captain fantastic, Di Vaio provides leadership, inspiration and goals for his team. Having turned down moves to bigger clubs in January, the Bologna faithful will again look to him as their guiding light as they fight to avoid relegation.
Prediction: Smart dealings in the transfer market mean that Bologna will fancy their chances of staying up. Going into the season without a points deduction will work in their favour while they must take points off teams around them if they are to avoid the drop.
Probable XI:

Gillet
Garics – Portanova – Antonsson – Morleo
Mudingayi – Della Rocca – Perez
Diamanti
Di Vaio – Acquafresca
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