Monday, March 29, 2010
Let me start by saying I think Jlloyd Samuel is a good left-back. He is not outstanding, but he is competent, and that is often all we can ask for at a smaller club like Bolton Wanderers. Well, that and a pork pie vendor inside the ground. For most of the season I have actually felt that he was our best option at LB, but Gary Megson preferred to play Paul Robinson (who was terrible for the first few months of the season, and who may in fact be the worst professional footballer I have ever seen).
When Megson was removed and Coyle came in it looked like Samuel might get a chance to re-establish himself, but Coyle moved Sam Ricketts to LB, and he put in some good performances. The Gary Cahill got a blood clot in his arm, Ricketts moved into the middle, and again it looked as if Samuel would finally get his chance. But no, Coyle went back to Paul Robinson, who performed better than he had under Megson, but still seemed to be a disaster waiting to happen in my opinion.
So, when Robinson picked up an injury last week and Coyle moved Samuel into the starting LB spot, I was pleased. Honestly, to give a player his first start in 3 months against Manchester United is a bit unfair, but Samuel (Really, the whole team) played well in the first half. Until a ball came in from the left in the 40th minute. It got past Darren Fletcher, who had made a good run into the box and Samuel, running towards his own goal, tried to put it behind for a corner. Unfortunately, instead of putting it behind on his side of the goal, he tried to play the ball out across the face of goal. He was a bit off, and passed it beautifully into the bottom corner for an Own Goal.
Was it a lack of match sharpness that caused this error? I think so. Last season, Samuel started all 38 league matches and was as steady as they come. He has not shown a previous penchant for putting the ball in his own net. I just hope Owen Coyle does not relegate Samuel to the subs bench for the remainder of the season. I still think he is a better choice than Paul Robinson at left-back, and Bolton will need all players fit and ready to contribute in order to ensure another season of top flight football.