Bologna vs. Roma: 6 Things We Learned
Another win for Roma, more misery for Bologna. The Giallorossi headed north for this clash with the Rossoblu, which currently hover just above the relegation zone.
Few gave them a chance against the rampaging Romans, which need nothing less than wins from the rest of their games to keep their slim title hopes alive.
It wasn't vintage Roma, but three precious points were secured thanks to Radja Nainggolan's first goal for the Lupi.
So what did we learn?
Roma Still Believe in Their Scudetto Chances
Another win keeps Roma nine points behind Juventus with a game in hand. Overturning that lead will be a challenge—but not an insurmountable one. The Giallorossi just have to keep winning and then hope Juve drop points along the way.
Speaking after the game, via the club's official site, Rudi Garcia gave his view on their chances:
This was a hugely important win for us. We managed things well in the first half and scored a lovely goal, then after the break we had several chances to score on the counter. We found it hard to put the game to bed. We often made the wrong choices in attack, not picking the right pass.
We're having a magnificent season. The guys have to understand that they must give everything they have when they're on the field and think about the good of the team. We need everyone to chip in, especially at times when we're finding it hard. We have to give 100% defensively: that's not always easy when you're feeling the fatigue but it's something we have to do. Tonight it went ok because we won and it's easier to work on improving when you get the three points.
Every game of the season is important. Our win was important because we played before everyone else. Now we can sit back and enjoy our rivals' matches. We've done our bit for now. I've spent many seasons playing in Europe and I know how much it can take out of you. We'll see how the others deal with it.
Garcia Will Want to Refine Roma's Killer Instinct
Another three points on the road is exactly what Garcia wanted, but the game was a little close for comfort in certain stages, and he'll hope to instil more of a killing instinct into his players to avoid more games like these.
The final play of the game saw Davide Moscardelli find Lazaros Christodoulopoulos who was unmarked but somehow managed to head wide. Had it gone in, Roma would have left Bologna rueing their relaxed attitude in a game that should have been finished off long before.
Bologna Will Be Disappointed
It's hard not to feel some sympathy for Davide Ballardini. Bologna had several chances to draw level toward the end of the game and really should have capitalised. The visitors took it down a notch in the final 20 minutes, and on another night, the Rossoblu would have scored.
Bologna are just a point above the drop zone and have found wins hard to come by at home and away this term, but if they can play like that in their next few games, they should be OK.
They Have Only Themselves to Blame
Bologna managed to put pressure on Roma in the final moments of the game, but it was too little, too late.
It's been the case far too often this season at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, and the squad needs to ask itself some tough questions if they're going to avoid the drop.
Jonathan Cristaldo was poor up front, and Cesare Natali was appalling at the back, but no one in a Bologna shirt covered themselves in glory against Roma. If the visitors' win was a team victory, then Bologna's loss was very much a team defeat. Everyone there needs to do much, much better.
Radja Nainggolan Can Do It All
Nainggolan's arrival in January was rightly heralded here in Italy as the finishing touch to an already impressive midfield.
The 25-year-old Belgian doesn't score many goals—he managed just seven in over 120 league games for Cagliari—but against Bologna, he proved that given the chance, he's not afraid of taking on a goalscoring opportunity.
If Nainggolan can add more goals to the passing, defensive solidity, physicality and versatility that define his game, he'll be very close to the perfect midfielder.
Roma Can Rotate
It wasn't the most convincing win of the season for the Giallorossi, but they managed it with Alessio Romagnoli—who is just 19 and normally plays in the centre—and Rodrigo Taddei deputising as full-backs, and they were without Francesco Totti.
Garcia also rested Kevin Strootman for the start before eventually bringing the Dutchman on to relieve the excellent Miralem Pjanic.
It was hardly a second string, but there were enough new faces to show that everyone in the squad is capable of playing a part.