Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carling Cup - Bolton v Macclesfield

Owen Coyle said he was going use our entire squad today in the 2nd round of the Carling Cup, and this was true.  Tuncay Sanli's debut performance was the big story, and there are a lot of other places where you can read about that.  I prefer to focus on some of Coyle's more interesting choices, today and in the future.  A few inclusions were obvious; Mark Davies, Darren Pratley, David Wheater, and Adam Bogdan were definitely going to play from the start.

We miss you Stuart!
Wheater and Bogdan have clearly defined roles, they are the third-choice central defender and second-choice keeper, respectively.  They are good players, and could start for several clubs in the Premier League, but the men in front of them are entrenched.

It is a very different story for Mark Davies and Darren Pratley.  And this will be an important story throughout the season.  For most of last season, central midfield was our strength.  Stuart Holden, Mark Davies and Fabrice Muamba were always formidable, and often dominant.  Then Holden got injured.  Then Davies got injured.  Then our lack of depth got exposed.  Coyle was determined not to let that happen again.  He has signed Nigel Reo-Coker as well as Pratley for central midfield depth.

But now, there are 4 players for 2 spots, and when Holden returns from injury, it will be 4 players for 1 spot, as Stuart was our best player last season and is definitely not going to sit on the bench.  Every moment, every match, will be critical for these players in determining who wins the golden ticket of playing next to Stuart Holden.

My choice in a 4-4-2 is Muamba.  He and Holden worked so well together, and really complement each other.  I love the way Mark Davies plays, always aggressive and attack-minded, but he and Holden may be too small to play together.  Reo-Coker may be the most well-rounded of the group, he does nothing great but everything well.  We know exactly what he is.  All of the others are so young there is room for improvement.  I haven't seen enough of Pratley to form a strong opinion, but he seems to attack-minded to play with Holden, someone needs to mind the shop, so to speak.


Anonymous said...

Has to be Pratley, we need goals!!!

Anonymous said...

reocoker was crap at vill crap at westham crap at bolton