ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Bolton Wanderers
soccernet blog
Bolton Wanderers
Posted by Neil McSkimming on 08/16/2011

So there we have it folks, top of the league, albeit thanks to the letter B. Learn it in semaphore and signal those flags across the stands when we come up against our closest rivals Manchester City this weekend. Actually, that would just be bizarre, but let's be honest, being on top is the most fun position to be in, now let us see how long we can last.

I won’t linger on the awesomeness of Saturday’s game for too long, but it is worth a brief discussion I think. Before the game, I had that hopeful feeling in my stomach that we would have a dreamy start by winning the game comfortably. Unfortunately, I always have this hope, and after 40 minutes, that hope had diminished as QPR looked to be the better of the two sides and played like the excited newly-promoted team they are.

It wasn’t until Cahill had his say with a beauty of a strike just before the break that Wanderers were able to show their Premier League pedigree. After the break, our play seemed much more composed and more chances came our way, especially in a brief period where we managed to score three quick goals.

The first, an own goal knocked in after the excellent Chris Eagles clipped a free kick into the danger zone. Klasnic then had his say when he gathered a classic Davies flick-back and had a typical smash at goal from inside the box that was deflected into the net. Muamba then made it four after taking on an excellent pass from Klasnic. Overall a fantastic result in what should have been a very difficult tie. This proves kids, that sometimes hope and faith can make a real difference in life, as can Kevin Davies battering his way through defenders like a masher through potato.

Klasnic has defiantly given Coyle some food for thought going into next week’s game as his all-round play has been excellent recently and with Tuncay likely to have his paperwork sorted, Owen will have some difficult decisions to make. I personally hope he sticks with Ivan as it would be hard to justify dropping him after a performance like this.

It has been clear to see in recent games how much Coyle loves his teams to dictate their attacking play through the wings. The game against QPR highlighted this with both Chris Eagles and Martin Petrov proving consistently influential on the flanks. Looking at the passing stats from the game this wing-love is proven. The central midfield pairing of Nigel Reo-Coker and Fabrice Muamba managed a total of 44 successful passes between them, whereas the aforementioned wing wizards made 65. The wingers also attempted more shots between them than both the strikers did throughout the match. I will say though that Eagles especially, did involve himself infield from time to time.

Coyle’s winger fantasies are nothing new and I’m sure he will be looking to increase his playing staff in the wide areas as soon as possible. With the Chungy situation (this isn’t a new Korean suspense movie) and the fact that at some point Petrov will probably need a rest, we need cover, and other than Gardner we are low in adequate replacements. One man that’s within the uber-friendly Paisleyman’s grip is Rangers winger Gregg Wylde. From what I have heard, Wylde seems like a good young winger who offers pace in the wider areas and I’m sure would be the kind of youngster Owen is looking to bring to our ageing left side to join Alonso, also waiting in the wings. Firstly though we would need to increase our 400k offer that Rangers declined. I refuse to use the word wings or any variation of the word for the rest of this post.

If you are in need of some adequate hold music for your business’ phone system, look no further than Wings 1973 hit “Live and let die”, with its pulsating groove and uplifting tempo changes, it’s a sure-fire way to keep hold of those inpatient customers.

Another wide man that could still be on his way to Horwich is Shaun Wright-Phillips. He was left out of the Manchester City squad last night and is surely on his way out. Bolton seems his most likely destination, what being close to home and the fact he apparently has some friends on the books here, however, he would need to “do a Tuncay” and take a cut in his hefty salary. Don’t worry Shauny, I’m sure you won’t need to downsize your home or trade in call of duty.

If it wasn’t a certainty that Gary Cahill is going to leave, it probably is now. After his superb performance on Saturday, potential suitors will be even more inclined to take the plunge. Coyle has made no mention of any new centre back on his radar, and thus far it seems that none have been strongly mentioned in the press either, and this is worrying. If Cahill is sold in the last weeks of the transfer window, we will have to panic-buy a replacement, and decent defenders are generally hard to come by. Sure, we could un-earth another Cahill, however we could also dig-up another “hapless Gerald Cid”, who has since retired…. At 27.

I think we need some new chants at the Reebok, but how can we get them started? Please suggest some, as I am a big fan of the chant, even if they are just in written lyric form and I can laugh at them, the poorer the chant the better. Here is my attempt to write the worst chant in the history of the universe, bad in every way possible, both lyrically awful and musically dire, I have used Wikipedia for my lyrical inspiration. It is for Reo-Coker and is to the tune of Rio, by Duran-Duran, I clearly thought about that for ages. Sing it people!!

His name is Reo-Coker, and his first name is Nigel.
Just like that Nigel Havers and also Nigel Clough.
And when he shines he is robust with good tackling.
Oh Reo-Reo has a brother that’s called Glenn.

Can you beat that?
Note how it’s a struggle to fit in the “Coker” syllables, brilliant.

Anyway, I’m off to see why Gary Neville is getting so much punditry praise. I shall be back soon to discuss how much we should fear Aguero on Sunday. Did you see his Goal? As Richard Keys would say and Gary Neville defiantly wouldn't… He defiantly smashed it.

P.s. I’m not really going to watch the football highlights, in reality, I’m going to wash up my cereal bowl. I just thought that would be a far less entertaining blog conclusion. What a liar I am.

Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter


Posted by Pedro1874 on 08/16/2011

Will we have the composure and never say die attitude to withstand a 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 scoreline and not roll over and die as at Wembley - now that is the question! How will the flapping Finn react? Will Bogdan be in the team against Macclesfield and Liverpool if Jussi continues to flap? Checkout the first 40 minutes against QPR - very worrying. Lucky they didn't get 2 up on us after all that possession.

Posted by Paul Bradshaw on 08/18/2011

Well Neil, another well written piece. Humour (my American computer hated that spelling),well thought out opinions and yes, the worst chant I have ever read. I presume that Wheater comes in if Cahill goes but then there's no cover at all should he or Knight get injured other than playing Sam Ricketts out of position when fit so I agree we need a center back. My other concern is that we are filling up the roster with very similar players. Reo Coker, Tuncay, Eagles et. al. Very solid players but not much flair. I think Wright Phillips would be a good signing in that regard. Anyway, I look forward to the rest of the season with some optimism though the next few weeks could be worrying.

Posted by Sagi on 01/18/2012

This piece was a liefjacket that saved me from drowning.

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left