Bologna- Match Report vs Benevento 04/10/20

Newly promoted Benevento continued their bright start to the season with a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win over Bologna. Bologna played a 4-2-3-1 while Benevento lined up in a compact 4-5-1, which became more of a 4-3-2-1 when in possession. The first 45 was largely played inside Benevento’s half as Bologna pressed up high, managing to restrict passes into the Benevento attackers. Bolgona looked to penetrate through their inverted wingers and regularly made big switches to Skov Olsen on the right. The only legitimate criticism you could give Bologna at half time was that they failed to do the most important thing, put the ball in the net. Skov Olsen and Barrow both had great opportunities but some fine goalkeeping from Montipo kept the score at 0-0.

However, Benevento did improve in the second half, becoming more compact defensively to restrict space for Bologna’s attackers to work in. They were also much quicker in attacking transitions and so were able to catch Bologna on the counter. Their goal came from a poorly defended corner and Bologna struggled to recover their dominance of the first half as Benevento outcompeted them physically. In the last 15 Bologna squandered more good chances, ensuring that they left empty handed, when it should have been much more.

SofaScores’ attacking momentum map illustrates how dominant Bologna (Blue) were today

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Musa Barrow

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Gambian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 14/11/1998
  • Current Club: Bologna, on loan from Atalanta
  • Career: Atalanta, Bologna (L)
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Barrow began on the left wing but had a degree of freedom and so took up more narrow positions. As the game progressed, Bologna brought on more wingers and so Barrow moved to a more central position. In these attacking areas he finds space really well, he drifts between the lines and looks to exploit the channel between the full back and right centre back. Here he was able to move the defence around and then pick up the ball and drive at the Benevento defence.

With pace, agility and good control Barrow is an excellent dribbler. Using these attributes, and some good body feints, he was able to skip past defenders with ease. Throughout, he looked to dribble inside onto his right. Following this, he played a number of quality switches out to Skov Olsen on the right touchline.

Barrow’s passing also caused issues for Benevento. Cutting inside he played some lovely reverse passes, usually to an onrushing Hickey or a roaming Soriano. In addition, on the few occasions he elected to cross he delivered some dangerous balls; in particular one drilled ball from the right should have been finished by Skov Olsen. The passes were consistently accurate and hit with such power that they could break the defensive line. In all, he created the most chances of anyone with six.

Along with creating chances, Barrow also had some big ones himself which he should have finished. In the first half he used his dribbling to dance through defenders before seemingly rounding the keeper only for Montipo to tip the ball behind. In the second half Barrow’s attempts at goal were thwarted by some last ditch defending from Glik. Arguably, Barrow was Bolgona’s most dangerous attacking player but greater efficiency in front of goal is required.

Physically, he is a tall winger at 6ft but has a slender build which lends well to his playing style. He is not the strongest, which was clear when he tried to compete in duels both aerially and on the ground. However, he does back his body into the opponent well in order to shield the ball. Defensively, he tracked back at times and did cover left back space when needed. Although, he did have a tendency to hold onto the ball for too long in dangerous areas. On two occasions he lost the ball as Bologna were transitioning into attack and so put his side under pressure.

Nonetheless, Barrow was their most dangerous player today and on another day his efforts may have produced multiple goal contributions. Ultimatly, sloppy finishing, from him and others, cost Bologna.

Rating – A2

Barrow’s touch map, from whoscored.com, shows he he played fairly narrowly, looking to come inside frequently

Takehrio Tomiyasu

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 5/11/1998
  • Current Club: Bologna
  • Career: Avispa Fukuoka, Sint-Truiden, Bologna
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Tomiyasu operated at left centre back today before moving to right back late on as Bologna chased an equaliser. On the ball he was composed, although he was generally under little pressure as Benevento were content to maintain their defensive shape. Consequently, the majority of his passes were progressive, being played into midfield or out wide to Hickey. His passing range is also strong as he demonstrated with multiple switches and in all he completed 9 of his 11 long balls.

At times, he was confident enough to bring the ball out himself looking assured in possession. While he was keen to get forward when moved to right back and managed to whip in some decent crosses. Tomiyasu is a fairly two footed player and this gives him a useful advantage when playing out of defence.

He has good pace and so had no worries with balls in behind today, never really being beaten in a race. As part of Bologna’s backline he pressed up high and was quick to engage the Benevento attackers when they received the ball to feet. However, this was to mixed success and he could be accused of being a bit too tight to the opposition. Generally he positioned himself well, being in the right place at the right time to make a couple crucial clearances.

Standing at 6’2 and with a slight build he is not the most imposing defender. He does compete and is not afraid of a challenge but his strength is questionable. There were times where the opposition found joy against Tomiyasu in physical and aerial battles. This is an area of his game that could be improved upon as he appears a little too lightweight currently, which may lead to him being targetted by the leagues most physical strikers.

Rating – A2

Aaron Hickey

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age 18
  • Date of Birth: 10/6/2002
  • Current Club: Bologna
  • Career: Hearts, Bologna
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

The young left back made only his second consecutive start since his unconventional move from Hearts this transfer window. For Hickey it really was a game of two halfs. In the first 45 he was assured and put a in good performance. However, in the second he found himself under more pressure and was taken off in the 66th minute, probably to his benefit. Although a shakey second half should not overshadow the quality he displayed in the first.

Hickey is a very attack minded full back, his starting position was high and he regularly moved into the space vacated by Barrow sitting narrow. He displayed great confidence in the first half and could often be seen demanding the ball from his teammates, while he was not afraid to drift from his left back position to influence the game. This level of confidence from a young player in a foreign environment is impressive to see and should serve him well.

With the ball his passing was solid if not a tad safe, while he never really had an opportunity to cross the ball. His touch was fairly inconsistent as he seem to struggle controlling the more difficult balls. In the second half his decision making became questionable. He attempted a few drilled passes with his right, which is clearly much weaker than his left, that were unnecessary when simpler options were on.

Defensively, he is a tenacious player who competes hard for every ball despite his 5’8 stature and slim frame. He moved round well as part of the back four, being narrow and providing cover when the ball was on the right, but pressing forward when the ball was played to the left. He closed his opponents down quickly and was on their heels giving them little time to settle or turn.

He struggled more in the second half as Benevento were more compact and so restricted the space he had. As he became more pinned back he found himself in some tricky 2v1 situations and was caught out ball watching a couple occasion. This was most costly for the goal where Hickey’s ball watching allowed Lapadula to gain half a yard and tap in the corner. Shortly after, Hickey was replaced with the second half probably serving as a good learning experience.

Rating – B1

Hickey’s heatmap from whoscored.com shows how attack minded he is

Andreas Skov Olsen

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 29/12/1999
  • Current Club: Bologna
  • Career: FC Nordsaelland
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Skov Olsen started on the right wing for Bologna today. He was lively in the first half but did become less effective in the second and so was substituted in the 66th minute. In contrast to Barrow, Skov Olsen looked to hug the touchline and wait for the switches to arrive, which gave him time and space to take the ball down and run at the opposition. He is a good dribbler who possess a tight touch and neat control. In 1v1s with Letizia his dribbling was effective and he got the better of him on multiple occasions in the first half.

Although, his pattern of play did become slightly predictable and so defenders became wise on how to stop him. Typically, he would receive the ball, take a few small touches before using a big touch and a change of pace to burst past the defender à la Arjen Robben, albeit with less quality and consistency. In the second half Benevento adapted and began to double up on Skov Olsen in order to restrict his space, consequently he became less effective as the game went on.

Despite this, he wasted the best chances for Bologna and generally looked poor when shooting. He lacked both accuracy and power and seemed to slap at the ball with little finesse when shooting. For his first chance he made his typical cut inside before dragging the shot narrowly wide. Similarly, in the second half, he brought a cross down at the back-post before spooning his shot wide from close range, in the end he was offside here but at the time he believed play was continuing. His final big chance came from a Barrow cut back but he was unable to generate the necessary power to beat the goalkeeper.

His passing was sound in terms of technique and accuracy but they were typically short and backwards and never particularly threatening like Barrow’s. At 6’1 he is a tall winger but, with a slender build, he is not the most physical player. He was inconsistent when challenging for the ball and could be pushed off the ball fairly easily, while his aerial attempts were halfhearted at best.

Rating – B1

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