Sunday, February 27, 2011

Newcastle United v Bolton Wanderers

It is a miracle of biblical proportions that this match finished 1-1.  Anyone who watched the action for any extended period of time would have expected a 5-5 goal-fest.  Johann Elmander was on the right wing again, a decision many people are questioning, but he ended up getting a Newcastle player sent off and actually had a pretty good match overall.

Once again though, all eyes were drawn to Daniel Sturridge.  This kid is an absolute beast.  Four goals in four for Bolton, and he does everything well.  Incredible skill on the ball, power, a good shot with both feet, creates chances for his teammates, and whenever he gets the ball I feel like the entire stadium comes to their feet, almost in expectation that something spectacular is going to happen.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

FA Cup Fifth Round

Bolton Wanderers are traveling down to London to take on Fulham at Craven Cottage.  And there had better be a winner, because neither of these clubs can afford a replay.

Bolton are quite shorthanded at the back for this one.  It is not just how many you lose that hurts you, but who you lose.  Sam Ricketts is Owen Coyle's most versatile defender, he can play anywhere along the back 4.  So when there have been injuries in defense, Ricketts has often been the man to pick up the slack.  But this time it is Ricketts who is hurt.  And that leaves Bolton without a recognized right back for tomorrow's match.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Champions League Star Peter Crouch?

The goal was really made by Aaron Lennon, and his run was so good that even he couldn't screw up the cross.  AC Milan really did not look a threat.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic created a few chances late, but for most of the match you would have thought Tottenham were the home team.

In my humble opinion, AC Milan are a spent force, and their current position perched atop Serie A only speaks further to the steep decline in the quality of that league.  It's hard to see anything but a fairly easy home win for Spurs in the second leg of this tie.

As for Tuesday's other match, Schalke have an away goal and Valencia are not known for traveling well, especially to Germany.  It's hard to see anything other than the German side advancing to the last 8.

Monday, February 14, 2011

David Wheater

I thought this deal was a bargain at twice the price for Bolton (I admit I was not alone), and approximately two appearances into his Wanderers career, it appears I was right.  Two games for Wheater, two clean sheets for Bolton.

To be fair, that is probably oversimplifying things.  He may be a more complementary partner though, for Zat Knight or Gary Cahill.  Cahill and Knight are both so big, it somewhat limits their mobility.  Don't get me wrong they both have good pace, and move pretty well for their size, but Wheater may be just a bit quicker.  I have yet to see any results from the scan on Zat Knight's knee, but I am hopeful that he will only miss a week or two.  Wheater is certainly an excellent replacement, but I will be happy when we have three healthy, classy central defenders on the roster.

The situation in defense aside, it was a fine performance against Everton, and hopefully it will herald a return to form for Bolton.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Right Wing

Daniel Sturridge is a monster, he really has to start for Bolton Wanderers.  As I wrote in my last post, Owen Coye is not dropping Kevin Davies.  That is the pairing up top.  Against Tottenham, Johann Elmander started on the right side of midfield.  He worked hard, and he is certainly skillful, but this left us with no pace on the right wing.  And the fact that Matty Taylor and Paul Robinson were the combination on the left side meant we had no pace on either wing.  We are just not going to win many matches that way.

If it were up to me, Rodrigo Moreno and Lee Chung-yong would be the starting wingers.  It seems more likely that Lee and Martin Petrov will be Coyle's preferred pairing.

I am very interested in seeing the starting XI when Bolton play Everton on Sunday.  The more pace in the team, the better.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Boys a bit special...

Daniel Sturridge debuted with a goal, giving Bolton a deserved win over Wolves at The Reebok.

What will be interesting to see is the starting XI for this weekend's away match against Tottenham.  A lot of Bolton supporters are calling on Owen Coyle to play Sturridge from the start.  The funny thing is they are split almost down the middle on who to drop to the bench from the current forwards, Johann Elmander or Kevin Davies.

The truth is that Coyle, much like Gary Megson, Sammy Lee, and Sam Allardye before him, will never drop Kevin Davies of his own accord.  That means the only way Sturridge starts is if Elmander drops to the bench.  Elmander has 10 goals this season, but has not been scoring a lot recently.