The best game of the season? Yeah. Probably. OC has listened to his behavioural psychologist. And Zat Knight self flagellation latest.
Afternoon all. Another grey day in the north west of England and, as I type this, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now comes on the radio. Coincidence…?
Probably. Well, we’re not really miserable are we? Granted, we are still in the bottom half of the division. And, having watched most of Blackpool and Huddersfield last night, I still think we are going to have problems getting ourselves promoted. However, two wins in three can’t be sniffed at and at this stage of the season, those wins are most grateful.
I don’t know what it is about Saturday’s result that has got me uplifted. I know that we will, in all probability, chuck it all away on Saturday against Palace. However, I the rosy glow from the weekend remains. It can’t be the weather. It may be that, in my five years at Sheffield Uni, I spent most of my time living on the Sheffield United side of the city, so have more of a soft spot for them. Plus, my sister’s family live in Sheffield and all four of my nephews, John the Blade, Ben the Blade, Elliott the Blade and Patrick the Blade, are all Blades fans. Or it may be that, last season, there were some Wednesday fans going on about how badly Bolton had treated Megson, only to discover later on in the year that their club weren’t above treating him badly either.
Some players and the manager have been reflecting on the Wednesday game and Mark Davies believes that Saturday was the ‘best performance of the season’, as if there was any competition for that award. Fine, the two games won at home gained three points each, but anyone who sat through the Derby match and then saw Watford take the second half the weekend before last, will appreciate that an away win, and controlling the game to boot, would be head and shoulders above any other.
‘Before the game the gaffer just told me to play on the right and go and get as much of the ball as I could. I enjoyed playing in the position to be fair, because it allows me to have more freedom.‘
I’m still not sure about Mavies playing on the right and we have seen other players played out there over the last season and a bit and seem them have one good game and then fail to produce after. As was pointed out in the comments yesterday, there are a number of wide players who aren’t figuring (Petrov, Wylde, Riley, Ricketts) and with LCY dropped only for fitness reasons, you would assume, and Warnock also available, we have a surfeit of talent who can step in. Eagles can also play there, although asking him to do something different at the moment, when he is playing so well, would be this side of stupid.
Naturally, there would be issues with dropping anyone from a line up that has won two consecutive games (that’s the line up, not the team), but that is the mark of a manager. There were still performances that were lacking on Saturday, both full backs for instance. It is for the manager to see that and ensure something is done about it. I don’t believe for one second that he brought Stephen Warnock in to just bolster the midfield.
One issue that the manager seems to have taken steps to rectify is the teams ability to let in goals just after half time. Although this is a legitimate complaint by Bolton fans, the facts are that, of the seven games this year, only two clubs have scored in the first five minutes after half time this season and one of them, Birmingham, was from a disputed penalty. As with everything, this is more of a hangover from the past eighteen months, it occurred nine times last season, and the manager sent the team out early on Saturday to try and affect this.
‘A lot of things are psychological in football, aren`t they? And for my liking we`ve conceded far too many goals in the 15 minutes after half time.‘
I think it’s far too many for everyone’s liking, but it’s interesting that he says it is fifteen minutes. On the hour is when managers tend to throw on their first substitution, but this is something that OC resists, for the most part. But, if it continues a winning run, then there should be no trouble in sending them out early again. As a well known supermarket chain would say, every little helps.
Zat Knight says that he is the first to go away and beat myself up after a bad game. Saves everyone else a job I suppose.
Right, that will be enough for today. Unless the Mersey and Bridgewater burst their banks, lets all reconvene tomorrow. And remember, flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle. It’s just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.