Bolton and Wigan played out a turgid goalless draw at the DW Stadium, in a game that had everything bar goals, excitement, skill and team work.
The pitch didn`t help, there were better playing surfaces on the Somme, but it shouldn`t be beyond the ability of footballers paid tens of thousands of pounds a week to string two passes together or give the impression that they`ve met their colleagues previously.
There were few chances in the first half. Charles N`Zogbia struck a post for Wigan and at the other end. Johan Elmander played in Lee Chung-Yong who crossed into the six yard area. Unfortunately the ball found Matt Taylor, a player who still gets a start despite having retired as a professional footballer.
The second half had to be better right? Er, nope. Taylor squandered another couple of half-chances and that was that. The boos that signalled the end of the game were fully deserved. This sort of stuff could put Horlicks out of business.
Richard Scudamore has been rightly criticised for his hare-brained plan for a 39th game. The Premier League`s chief executive needs to try the opposite tack and remove matches likely to cause pain to spectators. Calling this fixture off and awarding a point apiece to Wigan and Bolton would have saved fans time and money. It would also have been a relief to the poor sods who have to write about it.
Jussi Jaaskelainen 6
Nothing to do.
Gretar Steinsson 5
Looks more like Nosferatu with every game. This may scare the opposition. His football sure as hell won`t.
Paul Robinson 5
Shouts and points a lot. Tries hard. A pity about that lack of ability
Spent a good deal of time irritating Wigan`s defenders on corner, for which he is due credit. Conspicuously absent at other times.
Zat Knight 6
‘Big Titus Bramble, you`re just a bit Titus Bramble`
Fabrice Muamba 4
Back to his awful worst.
Lee Chung-Yong 5
The occasional bright moment, but not pulling his weight.
Matt Taylor 0
Always a limited player, but at least he had end product. Not anymore, and the tantrums on being substituted make him look like a tit.
Kevin Davies 4
Ineffective, sluggish and more concerned about whinging to the referee.
Ricardo Gardner 5
Busy enough, but needs games to get to full fitness.
Johan Elmander 6
Bolton`s best attacking player, which isn`t saying much, but there`s nothing about the Swede`s game that is exceptional, and the unwillingness/inability of Taylor and Davies to play off him is a major handicap
Vladimir Weiss 3
Stupid, greedy and with no appreciation of football being a team game. Owen Coyle is said to be a teetotaller. The decision to sign this waste of space puts that idea into doubt.
Jack Wilshere n/a
Three minutes wasn`t enough to influence proceedings and there is a suspicion that he`s another player without end product. Had one touch and then feigned injury after the mildest of challenges. You`re not playing for Arsenal now Jack
Matt Taylor`s strop on being replaced was the most effective he`d been all night, but this was yet another pointless substitution.
Owen Coyle 4
Is it too soon to have doubts? Another point and another clean sheet, but there is no discernible game plan. One goal in three games against Burnley, Wigan and a makeshift Fulham side is not reassuring.