That is the question.
Bolton are seventh in the league, in the semi finals of the FA Cup and are playing Manchester United on Saturday. You’d expect there to be something newsworthy coming out of the club that we haven’t already heard, but it seems that everyone is suffering from a collective hangover. So we’ll reflect quietly on Lee Chung-Yong and the manager’s words about him, do a bit of administration, and then put this one to bed. OK?
‘Chung-Yong Lee is an outstanding young player and I think as he begins to progress, he could go on and play for any team in the country, he`s that good. But as I`ve said before, I cannot keep asking him to start games and burn him out because we will lose all his quality by the end of the season. We have to be very careful, and we are doing, but he has such a big part to play. He will be nice and fresh, and able to make the impact he has since he arrived at this football club. He`s a quality player, an outstanding young man and he will get better and better.’
Hmmm. Before the Asian Cup I suggested that Chungy was facing burn out, having played more than two years football straight. A run to the semi-finals didn’t help that, and before he left for Qatar he certainly seemed to be struggling.
However, since he has returned and has not been asked to start, whenever he has come on he has brought something to the game that has been missing with Johan Elmander playing in the position. His goal on Saturday was just reward for his non stop running and, in a sense, I agree with the manager. But not entirely.
As I said after the Villa game, you can have good and bad luck, and we have been lucky, oh so very lucky, against both Birmingham teams in the past couple of weeks. Villa should have done us in the league, no questions, and before we booked our ticket to the London Borough of Brent, Birmingham had one cleared off the line and Kevin Phillips pulled the best out of Jussi.
I have no doubt that part of the reason is the line up. Elmander is a willing runner and proved on Saturday that he can score, but he is no right winger. His continued presence in the starting line up appears more and more like a sop to the Swede, keeping him sweet in the contract negotiations.
However, teams will see Elmander lining up on the right and think that that is an area that they can attack from. This is no downer on Elmander, who has said that he doesn’t mind playing there, but will give every team we play a lift. You would expect that if United play Giggs on Saturday, he will have a field day down the right if Elmander plays there.
Starting Lee and giving him sixty minutes is the much more sensible option. This will give the opposition something to think about from the beginning, rather than the other way round. Disregarding the Fulham game that will have to be rearranged due to the semi, we are now scheduled to play a game per week, which gives Lee more than enough time to recover from any exertions.
There were long periods of the games against Villa, Birmingham and Newcastle when they all controlled the game due to the shape of T’Wanderers, unable to decide if we were playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. If we are to fight on two fronts for the rest of the season, to quote a horny old cliche, every game is a cup final. I don’t really fancy watching Bolton chase every game in the last thirty minutes until the end of May. Danny Sturridge isn’t going to drag us out of the mire in every game.
And I got to the end of that without mentioning the Muamba/Mark Davies thing.
Fantasy League now, and last week saw Gill Ashton and her Platt Vegas Allstars increase their lead by three points over Phil Caine and his Heskey’s Legacy. Scott Allen’s The Ex Presidents remain third. Team of the week were last placed dynamo sesameseed with 56. They remain bottom, but there’s still hope ses.
The Vital Bolton Man of the Match for the semi was SuperKevinDavies with 51%. This leaves him, with just one game left in the month, joint top with Gary Cahill. I’m guessing this will make them both very happy.
We return, with a United preview, tomorrow. Their injury list may make up half the article.