Roma vs Bologna: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Stadio Olimpico is the venue as Roma and Bologna go head-to-head in their opening Serie A game of 2023 on Wednesday afternoon. 

It’s fair to say that the mid-season break came to Jose Mourinho’s rescue as his men were riding on an underwhelming three-game winless league streak (D2, L1) before the World Cup tournament. 

An abysmal run of form had seen Roma drop out of the Serie A top four for the first time this season, with the Giallorossi coming into the top-flight resumption three points adrift of fourth-placed Lazio. 

Mourinho has had enough time to reassess his options, with the aim now to re-establish his side as Champions League contenders following back-to-back wins in mid-season friendlies against Casa Pia and RKC Waalwijk.

Like their hosts, visiting Bologna went from strength to strength during the World Cup hiatus, winning all three exhibition matches by an aggregate score of 12-1.

Inspired by new head coach Thiago Motta, the Rossoblu had enjoyed quite a renaissance before the international break halted their momentum, racking up four victories from their last five Serie A outings (L1).

With a comfortable 12-point lead on 18th-placed Cremonese, the visitors have created a buffer and can enter the new calendar year without the pressure of being drawn back into a dreaded relegation battle.



Roma and Bologna shared the spoils in a drab 0-0 draw in this corresponding fixture last season, marking the Giallorossi’s second successive scoring blank against the Rossoblu in Serie A (D1, L1). 

Worryingly for the home side’s hopes of breaking their scoring duck against Motta’s team, they’ve only scored once in their last three home league matches (D1, L2).

Conceding first could prove a fatal blow for Roma’s bid to kickstart a new winning cycle, especially considering they’ve managed only one point from four home league games in which they’ve shipped the opener this season (D1, L3).


Except for a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Serie A debutants Monza in late October, Bologna have won none of their six remaining away league contests this term (D1, L5).

Much of the visitors’ form woes on the road have emanated from a fragile backline, which has conceded a league-high 19 goals away from home in 2022/23. 

Particularly vulnerable after the break, Bologna are one of only two Serie A clubs to have conceded 10+ second-half goals on hostile turf this season (12). 

Team News

Barring Georginio Wijnaldum, who has yet to overcome a long-term knee injury, Roma boss Mourinho can call upon his entire first-team squad for this fixture. But all eyes will be on Paulo Dybala

Despite playing a marginal room in Argentina’s run to the World Cup title in Qatar, the left-footed forward has been crucial for Roma this term, tallying five goals and two assists from nine league appearances.

On the other hand, Bologna will be without defender Kevin Bonifazi due to a knee issue. Yet Motta should have the remainder of his squad, including Marko Arnautovic, at his disposal for this trip. 

The veteran striker has been nothing short of impressive in 2022/23, soaking up the limelight as one of the deadliest attackers in Serie A, with only Napoli’s Victory Osimhen (9) scoring more goals than him (8).

Roma vs Bologna Potential Line-ups

Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez; Rick Karsdorp, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Bryan Cristante, Nicola Zalewski; Paulo Dybala, Nicolo Zaniolo; Tammy Abraham. 

Bologna (4-2-3-1): Lucasz Skorupski; Stefan Posch, Jhon Lucumi, Gary Medel, Charalampos Lykogiannis; Lewis Ferguson, Nicolas Dominguez; Roberto Soriano, Musa Barrow, Joshua Zirkzee; Marko Arnautovic. 

Roma vs Bologna Prediction

Bologna’s resurgence under Motta’s stewardship will be severely tested at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma desperately looking for points to reignite their top-four hopes. 

Mourinho’s men can no longer make a mistake if they’re to stay within touching distance of the Champions League qualification spots as we back them to return to winning ways in the new year.

Prediction: Roma win

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