I actually managed to acquire some “hospitality” tickets for the game on Saturday, but decided to generously give them away as for some reason I wanted to stick to my usual seat with my usual half time twix and coffee combo, and my usual lack of atmosphere and I even got a bonus surprise of having a large, drunk and expletive filled guy next to me, whom at one point almost fell to sleep on my shoulder (this actually happened). To be honest I’m slightly gutted I didn’t go for the four course meal and free bar as the guest of honour was the lovely Dean Windass. Come to think of it, the guy next to me could have been Dean Windass.*
Enough about me, to the game, the game that we lost 5-0. It’s probably not too difficult to point out the main reason we lost by such a number, lets call it, horrific defending. I’m not sure if it’s fair to say that Robbo was at fault for three of the goals, or that any left back would also have been ripped apart, but the fact is, he couldn’t keep up with Nani and struggled to read the wingers play. Robbo has had his good games in the team, but the fact is, he is almost guaranteed a game at the moment, as he doesn’t have any real competition in his position. Both centre backs also had very poor games and struggled to clear many of the balls that United drove into the danger zone. If a positive must be found, Boyata kept United relatively quiet down his flank, not that it made any difference, they just found other ways in. I think most Bolton fans would love to see Wheater given a chance in place of Knight, when Knight was injured last season, we arguably looked as assured as we have in a long time, and it can’t be a coincidence that when he returned, just in time for the Wembley trip, the defensive cracked really appeared, and the poor run of results began.
From what I could see, the midfield was generally bypassed, especially in the first half, that enticing carrot of Kevin Davies was hanging oh so deliciously in front of our defence that they seemed to go for the “hoof” as much as possible, any build up play that was attempted was attempted through the wings, specifically through Petrov who was about the only player do put in a half decent performance.
It was noticeable that Owen showed the ever-illusive balls to substitute Kevin Davies, will he go one step further this weekend and try picking a team that doesn’t include him? He does have an excuse to try something different, and with Ngog and Tuncay having a good cameo and waiting to be unleashed, surely now is the perfect time to give it a try. They did get a game in the reserves during the week; perhaps oiling them up, in the least sexy was possible.
I don’t really want to talk about the Cleverley incident, I think it’s only getting talked about for the sake of talking, and because it’s Manchester United. If a similar injury would have occurred to say, Jody Craddock (random player generator), I doubt it would have been talked about at all. As Owen said “Kevin Davies made a challenge, it was a free-kick.” This is the fast pace world of premiership football, and people are going to get hurt, the only time a fuss like this needs to be made, is if the player has gone in with irresponsible intent or malice. I think we can safely say that Kevin Davies is not a nasty player, he is a tough player, a player that pulls no punches, but he never intends to do any harm and always goes in with the best intentions to win a ball. Young players today just need to toughen up if you want to play with the big boys.
So, we move on to our next game, another newly promoted side, Norwich (where arrrre youuuu) City. The Canaries have gained a couple of decent points this season against Stoke and Wigan but are yet to win a game, their defence looked a little shaky against West Brom and this is something we need to exploit. They have some decent talent, captain Grant Holt is a striker that has excelled in recent seasons, and Wes “hot-lips” Hoolahan is an attacking midfielder that looked a real “player” last season (apologies for using the word player in such an annoying context).
This is an early season “must win” for the whites, as we need to show that we can put in good performances against the teams in and around us. If I selected the team (perhaps I do), I would keep Klasnic in the line-up, as this will hopefully be a game where the lethal striker gets some chances, pair him up with Ngog with Tuncay taking Eagles place on the wing and we could potentially have some attacking fun.
The Whites have beaten Norwich in the last five games played between the teams at the Reebok with the last three results finishing 1-0. However, we have lost eight of out last nine premiership matches, and losing is not a good habit, we need to check-in to a nice yellow and green rehab centre this weekend and kick this disgusting affliction once and for all. “Hi, my names Bolton Wanderers, and I lose football matches”.
Stuart Holden could be in contention to be part of the squad this weekend, this is great news as we clearly need a player like him that can command the midfield in the all-round manner that only Stuart can. The centre-midfield position is the area that I have been the most disappointed with so far this season. We have a wealth of manpower in this position, but so far no player has stood out. Reo-coker has done ok, but his passing has let him down and he has consistently lost possession. Mavies has shown flashes of the talent we know he has, but he couldn’t really get in the game against United. Pratley looked promising in pre-season, but his terrible performance against Macclesfield dampened my excitement, and Muamba has been Muamba. In conclusion, welcome back Stu!
I am attempting to find a new lucky shirt to don this season; the Villarreal shirt on show against United has failed in its audition (its also far too yellow to wear against Norwich), ill probably just go back to obvious white home shirt and let fate make its choices. Anyway, I have to go and sleep, a night shift triple whammy is about to commence. Thanks for listening chillllllldren!
Bruce Campbell tweeted me this week, beat that!
*I am in no way suggesting Dean Windass is large, drunk or expletive filled.
This was written extremely quickly so please feel free to send any info on grammatical errors to firstname.lastname@example.org with “jabroni” in the subject field.