The third round of Serie A left a match with many elements for tactical analysis. Brescia and Bologna met in a match with many emotions, many goals, and interesting tactics. Brescia and Bologna also met in a match that left very interesting things from the tactics and strategy of both coaches. The game’s seven goals show strong attacking tactics, but weak defensive tactics. Bologna has surprised at the start of this season, while Brescia could barely win in the debut match.

The match offered several important points not to overlook in the tactical analysis. This is why the following tactical analysis will show us how and why Bologna was able to beat Brescia. Bologna’s tactics surpassed Brescia’s tactics, despite being very similar. The analysis left interesting things to deepen Bologna’s victory over Brescia. In addition, the tactical analysis will be based on the tactics of both teams and what the coaches’ proposals were. For now, both teams are still trying to consolidate an idea through matches.

Lineups

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Taken from Wyscout.

Eugenio Corini, coach of Brescia, made three changes with respect to the last match. Aleš Matêjū came in place of Bruno Martella, occupying the position of left-back. Rômulo took the position of attacking midfielder in place of Nikolas Špalek, being the link with the strikers. In addition, Florian Ayé was the starter in place of Ernesto Torregrossa to accompany Alfredo Donnarumma in the area of attack. In terms of schemes and tactics, the idea was the same. This means that the changes were between players who occupy the same position.

4-3-1-2 is the base system that Brescia has been using and that in this match was no exception. The tactical analysis showed that Corini’s goal is to consolidate an idea. Brescia uses several players in the midfield zone to try to have numerical superiority there. It will always depend on the characteristics of the players to adapt to the tactics of each match.

The tactical analysis showed that Bologna is a team with more variants and can adapt more to the context of each match. Siniša Mihajlović made several changes to players and also changed the scheme for this match. Bologna went from a 4-3-3 system to a 4-2-3-1 system to face Brescia. The tactical idea of Mihajlović was to add one more line with two defensive midfielders. In addition, two external midfielders and an attacking midfielder who played close to the striker.

Mattia Bani replaced Danilo as a centre back while Blerim partnerDžemaili joining to be Gary Medel’s front row midfield. Riccardo Orsolini played a few meters further back, Roberto Soriano was placed as the link and Nicola Sansone played a few meters further back. Rodrigo Palacio replaced Mattia Destro as the only striker. The tactical analysis showed that Bologna is a very volatile team.

Brescia’s tactical order

The tactical analysis showed that Brescia’s 4-3-1-2 was based on order and low mobility. In other words, Corini’s tactics were based on strong pressure and a rigid scheme. The first thing we can say about this system is the role played by Sandro Tonali. Tonali was the defensive midfielder in charge of receiving the first pass from the centre-backs. Next to Tonali were Dimitri Bisoli and Daniele Dessena as interior midfielders. This formed a triangle in the middle of the pitch, but always under the rigidity of the tactical system 4-3-1-2.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Brescia forming a line of four players in the backline and three players in the midfield in the shape of a triangle.

In fact, when Brescia did not have possession of the ball they used the same system. Brescia never changed in that sense and the external lanes were free for Bologna. This made Brescia’s full-backs more concerned about defending than attacking. It was evident from the tactical analysis that Brescia always relied on the scheme of four players in the backline and three players in the midfield. The only difference is that without the ball the midfielders were in line and not in a triangle.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
System 4-3-2-1 without possession of the ball.

That’s why Stefano Sabelli and Aleš Matêjū focused more on defending than attacking. The analysis showed that without possession of the ball Brescia’s fullbacks had to press. In other words, Sabelli and Matêjū had to be on the lookout for Nicola Sansone and Riccardo Orsolini respectively. The external midfielders of Bologna had the wings free. This made the Brescia full-backs aware of them.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Sabeli making a man-marking pressure on Sansone.
Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Matêjū making a man-marking pressure on Orsolini.

Brescia’s defensive tactics 

The first tactical instruction for Brescia without possession of the ball was to exert pressure on Bologna. In addition, that pressure was a man-marking type. Every Brescia player knew which Bologna player had to mark in order not to let them receive a pass. Thus, the idea was that Bologna would have to jump lines with a long kick and not through sequences of short passes. In addition, this was a way to advance lines as well. That is to say, in this way Brescia was overtaking several meters on the pitch.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Brescia exerting pressure on every Bologna player who was likely to receive the ball.

Brescia’s defensive tactics were also based on accumulating several players in the middle of the pitch. The idea was to lock or box the defensive midfielders from Bologna. In other words, the tactical analysis showed that the idea was that Medel and Džemaili were not free to receive the ball. Medel and Džemaili were in charge of going back a few meters and generating space to give the team a clean start. These tactics worked for Brescia, as Medel and Džemaili were never comfortable to play. In fact, they were almost always surrounded by four or six players from Brescia.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Four players from Brescia enclosing Medel and Džemaili, the possible receptors of some pass from the backline.
Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Six Brescia players generating numerical superiority and encasing Bologna’s defensive midfielders. This made it uncomfortable for them to receive a pass and play freely.

Corini’s tactical ideas in that sense worked perfectly to a point. When Brescia were left with one player less due to a sending-off, the tactics were disarmed. That is the problem of maintaining such a rigid system and not having variants for these cases. Through tactical analysis, it became evident that Brescia could not rearm their system from Dessena’s red card.

Bologna’s tactical moves 

Bologna showed several very interesting tactical moves, especially in the defensive zone and the midfield zone. The first thing we considered in the tactical analysis was the position of Medel and Džemaili. These two players played a very important role in the strategy and tactics of Mihajlović. Tactically, Džemaili was a few meters ahead of Medel. In other words, they didn’t play in a line next to each other, but in a staggered way.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Džemaili playing ahead of Medel. That is to say, in a staggered manner.

Another interesting movement that demonstrated tactical analysis was the one that Bologna produced in the defensive zone. When the team had possession of the ball they released one of the centre backs into the midfield area. That is to say, Takehiro Tomiyasu was closed and he was placed as a centre back so that one of them advanced several meters. In that sense, Stefano Denswill or Mattia Bani were located near Medel and Džemaili. These tactics were to try to generate numerical equality with Brescia in that area of the pitch.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Bani playing free in the midfield zone.
Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Denswill playing free in the midfield zone.

Besides, when Bologna didn’t have possession of the ball, they changed their scheme. The defensive tactics changed thanks to the players’ movements. Again, Tomiyasu closed in and Orsolini retreated several meters. In this way, a line of five players was formed in the backline. In the midfield, Roberto Soriano and Sansone were closer to Medel and Džemaili to form a kind of 5-4-1 system.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Bologna doing a 5-4-1 system without possession of the ball.

Bologna’s attacking

The team, led by Mihajlović, showed that they attack with many players. The analysis showed that Bologna attacks with up to seven players to generate numerical equality. In addition, this means that Bologna players have very clear transitions. Bologna is a team that makes the transitions from defence to attack very quickly. Therefore, tactics indicate that the team is facilitated to accumulate several players in attack.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Bologna attacking with up to seven players.

In addition, the task of attacking with many players was made easier for Bologna with free outer lanes. Mitchell Dijks and Orsolini were always at the height of the ball line to be a pass option. They could also reach the box and attack the spaces that Brescia left free.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Bologna could attack by the wings thanks to the spaces that Brescia left in those areas of the pitch.

Another tactical variant in the attack was generated thanks to the synchronized movements of several players. Dijks would centralize and position himself as a midfielder in case of a loss of the ball. Džemaili was released and that made him free to attack the box and be placed as a striker. In addition, Sansone closed in and Rodrigo Palacio remained in the box. In this way, several players were placed in the box to generate more problems for the backline of Brescia.

Serie A 2019/20: Brescia vs Bologna – tactical analysis tactics
Sansone and Džemaili standing as strikers next to the Palace. Dijks at the centre of the pitch to occupy the midfield position.

Conclusion

In the tactical analysis, it was demonstrated and evidenced that both teams have interesting elements and things to improve. Brescia showed that the new tactics implemented can work for them. Unfortunately for Corini and his team, they ended up losing a match that seemed won. Brescia will have to improve in the defensive tactics and also in the psychic part because they were a fragile team in that sense. In the next match, Brescia will face Udinese and will have to recover points.

For their part, the tactical analysis showed that Bologna is a team with more positive than negative things. Mihajlović was clever with the changes and tactical variants he gave to his team when they were losing. Bologna proved to have good attacking power in a tactical system that is giving them results. On the other hand, they will have to improve, logically, some distractions in the defensive tactics. On the following matchday, Bologna will face AS Roma in a match that will produce a very interesting tactical analysis.

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Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya

Writer at Ronnie Dog Media
From Bucaramanga, Colombia. Fan of Atlético Bucaramanga. 26 years old. Football as a lifestyle.
Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya