By Petar Todorovski
Roma travels to Bologna in the following round in attempt to establish themselves as title contender. After the several bad results of the teams positioned ahead of them, they succeeded to make a breakthrough and now find themselves lying on the third place with six points behind Milan.
Giallorossi are in magnificent form. They have four victories in a row, five victories in last six games. Most important of all, they finally began to win points away. Now in their record there are away wins against Milan in Serie A, but also a Coppa Italia victory against Juventus in the midweek.
Claudio Ranieri expressed his delight of the way his side plays and also announced his Scudetto ambitions. “We are competing for the Scudetto,” he claimed after the convincing win with Cagliari. They beat Juventus the national cup few days later and he was even more satisfied. “In the dressing room, I praised my players for their efforts this evening. I am very satisfied. At this moment, we have a healthy side, and looking to improve especially away from home. We started the week well and must focus on beating Bologna,” the happy manager said.
However, they mustn’t take Bologna for granted. They still have an awful away record, having in mind their ambitions. There are only four teams in Serie A which have conceded more away goals than them (Catania, Parma, Bologna and Udinese).
Felsinei were considered to be one of the main relegation candidates, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations, mostly due to their good home record. They have lost only one game on Stadio Renato Dall’Ara so far, conceding only eight goals in the ten matches. They are 13th placed with six points ahead of the relegation zone.
Bologna was unbeaten in six of their last eight games, destroying Lazio in the process. The only two defeats were suffered by the two main title challengers Inter and Milan. There’s one more fact that says about the power of Lupi’s opponents – their first match in September finished with 2-2 draw, which is one of the only two matches that Roma haven’t won at home.
Roma will travel without injured David Pizarro and Adriano. It is expected Francesco Totti and Marco Borriello to start upfront with creative superforce Jeremy Menez just behind them, while Mirko Vucinic will start from the bench.
Bologna will try to keep the great home record without inured Ramirez and even four suspended players: Perez, Moras, Portanova and Gimenez. Their best scorer Marco Di Vaio will start as a lone striker in a defensive formation against the powerful rival.
Despite the good form at the moment, Giallorossi have a tricky task to do. Mediocre sides like Bologna are often unpredictable in front of their own fans and are able to give headache to the best teams in the league. For Roma it would be very important to keep the ball in their legs and achieve domination in the midfield. That would open more possibilities to Jeremy Menez to create opportunities for his team mates. Then, they will give another opportunity to Ranieri to state his championship dreams.