Spezia vs. Bologna – prediction, team news, lineups

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While the hosts have picked up only a point from their last three games – including defeats to Juventus and Inter – their Emilian visitors are yet to taste victory in the league, after letting two points slip in midweek.

Match preview

Spezia boss Luca Gotti on August 20, 2022© Reuters

Having kicked off just one point behind their more illustrious opponents, after drawing 2-2 with Sassuolo last weekend, Spezia’s most recent outing came away to Juventus on Wednesday night.

The Ligurian side were put on the back foot early in proceedings by Dusan Vlahovic‘s latest set-piece special, and despite battling gamely they barely mustered much of an attacking response in what turned out to be a 2-0 defeat.

Not only have they already had to travel to San Siro and visit Turin, Spezia must play Napoli and Lazio in their next two road games, so making the most of home advantage on Sunday will surely be upmost in Luca Gotti‘s plans.

The Aquilotti’s head coach – their third in as many seasons, since promotion to the top flight – has helped his side remain unbeaten in their first two home matches of a Serie A season for the first time, and may well expect to extend that streak further.

After strengthening his squad by bringing in Wales midfielder Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea – plus managing to retain promising centre-back Jakub Kiwior – now Gotti sends Spezia out at the Picco aiming for a first top-flight win over Bologna.

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic on August 27, 2022© Reuters

Unbeaten in each of their four games against Spezia in Serie A – including three wins – Bologna at least have precedent to fall back on before travelling to Liguria, as their current form leaves a lot to be desired.

They have picked up just two points from their first four league matches, and will want to avoid another failure on Sunday: the last time the Rossoblu went without a win from their first five was back in 2013-14 – they were relegated at the end of that campaign.

It could have been a somewhat brighter picture for Sinisa Mihajlovic‘s side, had they hung on to a potential three points on Thursday, but Boulaye Dia‘s late equaliser for Salernitana earned the visitors a 1-1 draw at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Bologna did win their first home game of 2022-23, by beating Cosenza in the Coppa Italia, but have come out on top in only one of their last 12 away matches.

Even that was a 1-0 victory over Serie B-bound Genoa in May, and they have played out four draws and seven defeats during a dismal spell. For Mihajlovic to keep his job, such statistics must improve – and fast.

Team News

Spezia's Daniele Verde celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on September 25, 2021© Reuters

While Spezia will have summer signing Albin Ekdal back from suspension, after he was sent off as a substitute last weekend, doubts remain about the availability of Kelvin AmianSalva Ferrer and Daniel Maldini due to injury.

Daniele Verde is another potential absentee for Luca Gotti to contend with, so either David Strelec and or the versatile Emmanuel Gyasi will join M’Bala Nzola up front in the hosts’ 3-5-2 formation.

Certain to start at the back, Jakub Kiwior has posted the most clearances (22), headed clearances (8) and completed passes (206) of any Spezia player in Serie A this season.

Meanwhile, Bologna said goodbye to one of their defensive stalwarts this week, as Ibrahima Mbaye had his contract terminated by mutual consent; departing as the club’s longest-serving current player, with 131 appearances across eight seasons. Stefan Posch, who arrives on loan from Hoffenheim, bolsters the back line, though, and could feature on Sunday.

Starting up front, Marko Arnautovic – with three goals so far this term, following his strike from the penalty spot in midweek – has previously scored three times in two league appearances against Spezia.

Musa BarrowNicola Sansone and Riccardo Orsolini will battle it out to support the Rossoblu’s top scorer.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Hristov, Kiwior, Nikolaou; Holm, Kovalenko, Bourabia, Bastoni, Reca; Gyasi, Nzola

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Lucumi; De Silvestri, Schouten, Soriano, Lykogiannis; Orsolini, Barrow; Arnautovic

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