Dougie Freedman has a faultess record as Bolton manager. Let that wash over you…..
Good morning to you and you and you. Here we are, at the beginning of a new era and some tactical mastery and a couple of man of the match performances from two players who you wouldn’t expect to be anywhere near the words ‘man of the match’ have got us all entering the new week with a smile on their face.
So, what did I learn from actually being able to watch a Bolton Wanderers game, albeit on the goggle box as I had to get to work straight after?
Dougie likes a suit.
So does Lennie.
Lennie also likes to wear a big coat to keep out the chill.
Dougie is ambivalent about his.
Two teams playing the same kind of way cancel each other out.
Two teams playing a different kind of way make for a fantastic game.
Apparently a slight deflection that made the trajectory of the ball move ever so slightly excuses Adam Bogdan from going down so slowly he’s still going down for Cardiff’s goal.
Still, never mind, because he can save shots WITH HIS FACE!!!
If Peter Beagrie thinks that Mark Davies was man of the match then I am paying no attention to the rest of his punditry ‘skills’.
And having whatever he’s smoking.
Hey, passing the ball along the floor does work.
Can the person who kidnapped David N’Gog and Zat Knight and replaced them with dopplegangers hang onto them for a while?
That’s how you defend. Now, can we keep a clean sheet?
I probably wasn’t the only one who saw SKD coming off and thought that either Afobe or Sordell would come on and then shook their head when it was David N’Gog who took to the pitch. Yes, he is a good hold up player but this appeared to be a like for like replacement and SKD had had little change from the centre of the Cardiff defence. Well, smack me around and call me Daphne. Here was the player who Owen Coyle spent all last years money on. He ran and hassled, scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled offside. He didn’t let that worry him and almost immediately fell over in a Luis Suarez stylee to gain a penalty. Was he on his way down? Probably. Why does that matter. Only the loser and Peter Beagrie think that it wasn’t but his legs were clipped.
He then brought the best out of Marshall not once but twice before completing the coup de grace by getting himself booked twice in eight minutes and being sent off. From anonymous chugger to everything that encapsualtes this crazy game in the space of half an hour.
And what about Zat Knight? His interview at the end might not have been up to much, but this may have been more to do with even he not believing his performance. He made it look like he wanted to win every single ball. And then did. He may have had an inadvertant hand in the Cardiff opener (and flung his hands up to blame everyone else as per usual). But he had won the header that made its way back to Noone and, whilst that header was weak, then attempted to close him down. He may still not have been tested along the floor, but if he can perform like this on a regular basis, and do some more Cruyff turns, then OC’s decision to re-sign him may not have been a gormless act after all.
One game at a time though, eh?
So, Dougie becomes the first manager to win his opening game since Colin Todd stepped from behind Roy McFarland’s shadow in 1996. There were a number of things he got wrong. The lumping the ball up to SKD when he had no back up once again reminded us that there are times when SKD’s age is a factor. The selection of Dazza Prazza, his first league start of the season, told us nothing we didn’t already know, and it was a blessed relief when he was hauled off and down the tunnel before the hour. His replacement, Martin Petrov, scoring from the penalty spot minutes later as Chris Eagles went and hid.
Did Cardiff have a good shout for a penalty before the end? Yes, they did. But, if the fourteen games we have played this season have taught us one things, it is that Football League referees make their Premier League counterparts look good. And it is nice, after some of the dodgy penalties that we have had awarded against us, to have something go right for a change.
One game doesn’t make a season, but it does send us in the right direction and puts us in good cheer for tomorrow’s game against Leicester before heading for the suddenly imploding Blackpool on Saturday in one of those ironic things that happen in football. Suddenly, there is a feeling of optimism. But, as I’ve said before this season, let us walk before we can run. It’s still a long way to that forty sixth game.
Right, I’ll be here for the Leicester preview tomorrow and then I’m off for the rest of the week as it’s my birthday, so Al will guide you through the rest of the week. You may send your best wishes. In fact, I insist on it.