Wanderer24 returns to give us the view from the southern hemisphere. Funnily enough, the view is the same as it is in the northern hemisphere…
Patience has its limits and Owen Coyle is pushing the strings a little too far. Every football supporter is entitled to have his team go out and perform with a semblance of vigour and determination. However, when they are being led by a manager with the tactical ineptness of a beginner, it is sometimes unsurprising that they find themselves confused with regards to the way forward.
The Cliché ‘Premier League survival will not depend on such matches` still applies to games such as the one against Manchester City, but in no way was spirit present on the pitch and the catastrophic team selection that was put forward gave us no alternative but to lie down and accept defeat.
What seems to be so obvious to the on looking Bolton supporters seems to be such a challenge to Owen Coyle. The stubbornness of OC once again came shining through at all levels?So where do we start?
? The presence of Zat Knight and Darren Pratley in the same starting line-up would be pushing it in the Championship, let alone the Premier League. And this after their continuous sub-standard performances of the last few months.
? The decision to play Tim Ream, a novice in his second Premier League start, in the position of holding midfielder was a joke. Despite his technical abilities, it was wishful thinking to think that he would be effective in this position while Muamba sat on the bench waiting for his 200th League appearance?
? The great news was to have Mark Davies back in the team, but then OC found it better to have him play on the right of midfield, when it has been proven that he excels in the floating position in a five man midfield.
? Experimenting with new formations should be done in pre-season friendlies or training ground kick arounds, not when in a relegation dogfight with twelve games to go.
So then, we move onto kick-off and it was there for everyone to see that no Bolton Wanderer player (or supporter) had any understanding of the formation within the first seven minutes. And how I wish Manchester City had put four goals through us in that opening period and then maybe the point of tactical ineptness would have been driven home more strongly.
Why play such an experimental formation when the three man midfield of Muamba, Reo-Coker and Mark Davies had worked so well in the handful of fixtures where they have been played? Last week we all cried out about Mark Davies not being there to offer a creative spark and this week we find him hidden away on the right side of midfield.
It also seems as if OC places the names of Pratley and Knight on the starting sheet and then decides how the other nine players are going to fit. Knight nearly gave away two penalties and was woeful at best during the whole game and despite this, I will put my money on the fact that he will play again next week. Pratley, for all his work rate, is not up to standard in the Premier League and this is a secret to nobody, so why persist in playing him?
Having lost 2-0 flatters Bolton as the level of performance was never there and despite OC rambling on in his typical way about the fact that we ‘competed`, I don`t think anyone who watched the game was having any of that rhetoric. We may have already played most of the big guns, but playing football is about confidence and mental toughness and this is obtained by going out there giving your best and even if you lose by two goals, this spirit takes you into the next game with greater belief. At this point, I cannot see any of this in the Bolton team and this is in large part because of the manager`s clear tactical ineptness and stubbornness.
I think that the Bolton faithful have been patient enough over the last few months, but tolerance has its limit. The decisions being taken are becoming beyond a joke. We have eleven games left for the survival of the club and it is time for the manager to get his act together or move away and let someone else take care of such matters.