MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 19:36:49| >> :600:2851086:2851086:
Dec 16, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia, Italy
N'Zola (19', 63')
Marchizza (16'), Gyasi (37'), Agoume (49'), Chabot (85'), Provedel (90+1'), Erlic (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Dominguez (72'), Barrow (90+2')
Tomiyasu (25')

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

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

Bologna travel to Liguria on Wednesday, looking to bounce back after their crushing 5-1 loss at the hands of rampant Roma, while hosts Spezia also suffered a heavy defeat last time out - losing 4-1 away to bottom side Crotone.

The Bianconeri return to their renovated home ground, Stadio Alberto Picco, for the first time this campaign, as they meet Sinisa Mihajlovic's side - which was sent into a training retreat after their weekend humbling.

Match preview

Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Given those chastening defeats, it will be crucial for both teams to earn points from Wednesday's fixture as they chase their common goal of Serie A survival.

After an unexpectedly bright start to life in the top flight, Vincenzo Italiano's home team are now 16th in the standings with 10 points, while the Felsinei sit 12th - only two points above.

Spezia are one of just two teams - along with Torino - yet to take maximum points from a 'home' game in the 2020-21 season.

An underwhelming record of two draws and three defeats can perhaps be attributed to their temporary tenancy at Cesena's Stadio Dino Manuzzi - and its unloved artificial turf - so returning home to Liguria will provide a great boost for the Bianconeri.

However, despite plaudits for their grit and enterprise so far, Spezia have conceded at least two goals in eight of their 11 league matches this season and have the joint-third worst defence in Serie A.

Italiano has relied upon the endeavour and goals of French striker M'Bala Nzola to help keep his side's heads above water so far and will be glad that the former Trapani forward should return this week, after an unexpected absence on Saturday, as their latest opposition have struggled to keep clean sheets all season long.

Bologna's Riccardo Orsolini in action with Inter Milan's Dalbert Henrique in Serie A on February 3, 2019© Reuters

For visitors Bologna, absences are beginning to take a major toll, particularly now two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed - one of which was Scottish full-back Aaron Hickey, who had recently earned a regular spot in the first XI after his summer move from Hearts.

The Rossoblu were taken apart by Roma in their previous outing, with all six goals in a 5-1 drubbing being netted in a chaotic first half, before a somewhat improved second period at least stemmed the tide of Giallorossi goals.

Though they have collected a respectable points total and had won back-to-back league games before two recent defeats, Bologna have conceded 22 goals - at a rate of two per game - and have now lost seven of their last eight Serie A away fixtures, stretching back to last season. This trip to La Spezia provides perhaps a perfect chance to start turning those unwanted records around.

At the end of November, these two clubs faced each other in the Coppa Italia. On that occasion, Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic opted for a substantial turnover of players in an experimental XI, which ultimately led to a 4-2 win for Spezia.

As either side has yet to master keeping the art of keeping the back door shut this term, it is likely that more goals will follow on Wednesday evening, as the tiny Stadio Alberto Picco finally celebrates its top-flight christening.

Spezia Serie A form: LWDDLL
Spezia form (all competitions): WDWDLL

Bologna Serie A form: WLWWLL
Bologna form (all competitions): LWLWLL

Team News

Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Sinisa Mihajlovic's list of Bologna absentees is ever-growing. Though Stefano Denswil, Mitchell Dijks and Nicola Sansone - who has had a hip injury - could be on the verge of a return, Andreas Skov Olsen and Jerdy Schouten are likely to miss out.

Aaron Hickey tested positive for COVID-19 last week and continues to self-isolate, while winger Riccardo Orsolini is out with a thigh strain.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski has a fractured finger, so Federico Ravaglia continues as the overworked last line defence after having a debut to forget, while Ibrahima Mbaye picked up a thigh strain against Roma and will be out until the new year.

Spezia top scorer M'Bala Nzola should be available again after sitting out the Crotone defeat, while fellow forward Daniele Verde will undergo tests to determine his readiness before kickoff. Juan Ramos, Federico Mattiello and left-back Cristian Dell'Orco are close to a return, but Wednesday's game may come too soon.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Diego Farias - who scored at the weekend - will form the attacking trident with Nzola, in Vinceno Italiano's stock 4-3-3 setup.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Ferrer, Terzi, Chabot, Bastoni; Pobega, Ricci, Estevez; Gyasi, Nzola, Farias

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Ravaglia; De Silvestri, Danilo, Tomyiasu, Denswil; Medel, Dominguez; Vignato, Soriano, Barrow; Palacio

SM words green background

We say: Spezia 2-2 Bologna

It may not prove a fairytale homecoming for Spezia this week, as the stands will be near-empty and they may not record the result they most desire - a first home win of the campaign.

With both sides conceding goals at a rate of around two per game, it seems fair to suggest that a score draw is the most probable outcome in the picturesque port of La Spezia.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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