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Bologna logo
Serie A | Gameweek 23
Feb 3, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Sassuolo logo

4 - 2

Viti (24' og.), Fabbian (73'), Ferguson (83'), Saelemaekers (86')
Aebischer (55')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Thorstvedt (13'), Volpato (34')
Thorstvedt (45+1'), Boloca (85'), Doig (90+3')

Preview: Bologna vs. Sassuolo - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Bologna and Sassuolo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Serie A's Saturday night kickoff brings together two Emilian rivals at Stadio Dall'Ara, as Bologna host struggling Sassuolo.

While the Rossoblu will aim to continue their long unbeaten run on home soil, their Neroverdi counterparts are dangling dangerously close to the drop zone following four losses from five.

Match preview

Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee celebrates scoring against Inter Milan on October 7, 2023© Reuters

Partly thanks to two missed penalties by hosts AC Milan last week, Bologna left San Siro with one point, following a stoppage-time equaliser from Riccardo Orsolini.

Much-admired striker Joshua Zirkzee had slotted Thiago Motta's men ahead before the break, but conceding twice had left them facing a second straight Serie A defeat, coming hot on the heels of their recent Coppa Italia exit.

While Bologna have stalled somewhat since the turn of the year, slipping down to eighth place and going out of the cup, they now return to home soil, where results have kept them in the mix for European football next season.

Unbeaten in nine league matches at the Dall'Ara - winning no fewer than seven - the Rossoblu could now reach double digits without defeat for the first time since the spring of 1990.

Despite their late comeback in Milan, Motta will be dismayed with taking just two points from four games since Christmas, so Bologna's sole aim on Saturday is to go one better than in October's reverse fixture, when they were held to a 1-1 draw in Reggio Emilia.

Sassuolo coach Alessio Dionisi reacts on December 30, 2023© Reuters

Sassuolo have won only one of their last six league meetings with Bologna, who they have often finished above in the final standings over the past few years.

However, head coach Alessio Dionisi has been unable to keep his team in touch with the Rossoblu this season, as they trail their regional rivals by no fewer than 14 points ahead of this week's encounter.

Beaten 1-0 at Monza last time out, Sassuolo have failed to even score in their two most recent matches, and they continue to struggle in the absence of long-serving talisman Domenico Berardi, having lost all of their five league fixtures without him this term.

Dionisi must be under serious pressure now, as since May of last year, no team have been beaten more often in Serie A: their tally of 16 defeats during that time tells the tale of a steady decline.

Starting the weekend just one point above the relegation zone, albeit with one game in hand, Sassuolo's 11-year stay in the top flight could be in danger if they do not improve soon - particularly on the road, where they concede an average of two goals per game.

Bologna Serie A form:

Bologna form (all competitions):

Sassuolo Serie A form:

Sassuolo form (all competitions):

Team News

Bologna coach Thiago Motta before the match on January 9, 2024© Reuters

After veteran defender Lorenzo De Silvestri filled in at right-back for Bologna last weekend, Stefan Posch should return to the hosts' four-man defence on Saturday evening, having now served a one-match ban.

Adama Soumaoro and Dan Ndoye are still sidelined by injury, but Thiago Motta will have a new striker at his disposal, as the signing of Argentinian teenager Santiago Castro was confirmed earlier this week.

Set to support first-choice centre-forward Joshua Zirkzee up front, Riccardo Orsolini - who has previously scored four goals against Sassuolo in Serie A - recently found the net against both Milan and Cagliari.

Meanwhile, Sassuolo will make the short trip across Emilia-Romagna without their main man, Domenico Berardi. With the Italy international available this season, the Neroverdi's win rate increases by 31% - they are yet to pick up a point without him.

Midfield regular Matheus Henrique will be ruled out by suspension, while Pedro Obiang is still injured, but Uros Racic could return to the visitors' engine room.

Elsewhere, Josh Doig - who recently replaced Flamengo-bound Matias Vina - starts at left-back, with Andrea Pinamonti leading the line up front.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Posch, Beukema, Calafiori, Kristiansen; Freuler, Aebischer; Orsolini, Ferguson, Saelemaekers; Zirkzee

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Pedersen, Erlic, Ferrari, Doig; Boloca, Racic; Castillejo, Thorstvedt, Lauriente; Pinamonti

SM words green background

We say: Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo

Sassuolo simply cannot keep clean sheets and are always prone to conceding more than once away from home, while Bologna rule the roost at Stadio Dall'Ara. For that reason, the hosts should secure maximum points for the first time in 2024; their local rivals will stay mired in trouble.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee celebrates scoring against Inter Milan on October 7, 2023
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