Serie A 2012-13 season review: Bologna will look to build on a lower half finish

Mario Carlini / Iguana Press

Bologna entertained the Serie A masses, but will hope their luck is in next season to improve on a 13th placed finish.

13th; W11 D11 L16

It was always going to be hard for Bologna to replicate their 9th place finish from 2011-12. The loss of talisman Marco Di Vaio to the MLS made Stefano Pioli's task that bit harder. Loan moves for Alberto Gilardino and Manolo Gabbiadini bridged the gap, while Marco Motta joined for a season from Juventus to bolster the backline.

The Rossoblu lost their opening two games, before coming from 2-0 down to snatch a last gasp 3-2 win away at AS Roma. Soon after, the club went on another four game losing streak. A failure to find any sort of consistency was highlighted by the fact that only three of their games played in the opening half of the season ended in a draw. The side reached a crossroads in February as they looked more and more like flirting with relegation.

A purple patch arrived at just the right time, as Bologna enjoyed their best run of the season, winning three games in succession between late February and mid March, including an impressive 1-0 road win against Inter Milan. The San Siro victory was sweet revenge for a late Coppa Italia exit at the hands of the Nerazzurri just a few weeks prior. It proved to be the Rossoblu's penultimate victory, as the side drew five games in succession during the final part of the season. Despite being clear from relegation, Bologna were given a rude awakening courtesy of a 6-0 thumping at Lazio. However, Pioli restored some much needed credit to his side, picking up three points at Parma and a draw against Genoa to close out the season.

Most significant match
Napoli 2-3 Bologna (16 December 2012)

Of Bologna's five away victories, this one was the most magical. Trailing 2-1 with five minutes left to play, Panagiotis Kone notched up a goal of the season contender with a crisp scissors-kick finish. Daniele Portanova headed a last minute winner on his return from a lengthy ban in one of his final appearances for the club. Just three days later, the visitors repeated the trick in the Coppa Italia, coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Kone netted in that game too.

Biggest surprise
Alberto Gilardino

The goals had seemingly dried up for the frontman at Genoa, with many beginning to whisper that the 30-year-old's best days were behind him. Fast forward a year later and Gila has answered his critics with gusto, top scoring for Bologna with 13 goals and filling the void left by Di Vaio. Gilardino has also managed to hold a down a squad place in the national setup and will be hoping to replicate his form for whomever he plays for in the next campaign.

Biggest disappointment
Failing to turn up at the Stadio Olimpico

After playing out a 0-0 draw at the Dall'Ara back in December, it came as a surprise when Bologna rolled over for Lazio and wilted to a 6-0 defeat on a hot day in Rome. The players had literally gone on their summer holidays a couple of weeks early and suffered their heaviest loss of the season as a result. No attacking bite, no fight, very uncharacteristic of Bologna.

What needs changing?

Bologna seemed to win at the right times to keep themselves out of trouble. The side had no trouble finding the net, but a shaky defence led to many dropped points. A couple of defensive reinforcements will be top of the summer shopping list, while the club should also be doing their best to keep the majority of their attacking players.

Who's off in the summer?

Gabbiadini is almost certain to return to parent club Juventus. The Bianconeri are also pursuing Alessandro Diamanti, whose future remains a hotbed of contention. The former West Ham man has pledged his future to the Rossoblu for now, stating he's happy with life in Emilia, but this saga looks set to rumble on through the summer.

If Bologna keep one individual...
Alessandro Diamanti

A late bloomer, the 30-year-old is currently playing the best football of his career. Diamanti has undoubtedly been the heartbeat of the current Bologna side. His uncanny mazy dribbles, ability to ping a dead ball and seven Serie A strikes this season have seen him earn regular call-ups to the national squad. He seems to flourish as the big fish in a small pond. The question is, can the Bologna hierarchy manage to keep their prized asset on board next season?

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