Sometimes people need to strip their games right down o their bare bones
Neil Lennon, upon arrival at Bolton Wanderers, made an immediate impact. He operate with four at the back usually in this incarnation: Vela/McNaughton on the right, Mills and Dervite in the middle, and Tim Ream on the left.
Recently, with at times reasonable success, we’ve reverted to a 3-5-2 with a back three of Mills, Dervite and Wheater/Ream with Liam Feeney, Saidy Janko and Dean Moxey featuring as wing backs. While this can be utilised well, and our squad can play in this formation I feel that this was somewhat of a pointless switch. I question whether actually needed this?
Most of our success under Lennon came when we were playing in a simple formation, where moments of brilliance won us games. I think the Brentford match is the best example of this- Neil Danns scored a scorcher from long range, Mark Davies dribbled effortlessly through their hapless defence, and Craig Davies scored from just inside their half- stroking home into an empty net.
I don’t think we can rely on moments like this, and we’ve certainly lost magic with the likes of Chung Yong Lee leaving and Max Clayton and Mark Davies being long term injury concerns.
However, I feel we can cause teams a lot of problems with a standard four at the back- Ream and McNaughton are defensively sound so we won’t keep conceding four a game. Janko and Feeney work tirelessly down the flanks, Danns and Vela provide solidity in midfield; Gudjohnsen, Bannan and Clough bridge the gap between the midfield and the attack with effortless class; Le Fondre is a natural born goalscorer who can play off big target men like Heskey and Craig Davies. I know they can’t all feature at once, but there are certainly enough options for us to do well with just four at the back.
Make it happen, Lenny!