Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Long Slow Sunset of Kevin Davies

For the last ten years, through four managers and hundreds of matches, Kevin Davies has pretty much been the first name on the teamsheet for Bolton Wanderers.  He has never been seriously injured, and has served as club captain for the last few seasons.  There were a few occasions when Davies had to be shoehorned into the team as a right winger, but for the most part, he has earned his position on merit.  Never a prolific goal-scorer, he has been an effective player none-the-less, creating opportunities for teammates and managing several 10 plus goal seasons.

It has always been a delicate balance for KD though.  The manager has had to calculate the perpetual fouling, the easily given up possession, and the poor finishing in front of goal, then compare it to the myriad of headers and resulting flick-ons, the numerous free kicks won, and fairly reliable ten goals a season.  Unfortunately, in the last year or so, Davies' scale has finally tipped in the wrong direction.  At this point, Owen Coyle is playing his skipper purely based on reputation.

Now let me be clear.  I don't think anyone should panic based on the past couple results, Bolton's schedule the first six weeks of the season is just absurd.  I am not particularly concerned about the results, it will be at least another month before I even look at the table.  But I am concerned about the performances.  Two players' performances in particular.  The first one, as you may have guessed, is Kevin Davies.  As I stated above, he is pretty much an institution at The Reebok.  However, he is probably our fourth-best striker at this point.  Will Coyle have the guts to drop him for the good of the club?

Paul Robinson is the worst player in the Premier League.  He has single-handedly cost us at least five goals already this season.  I just hope Coyle has finally seen it.  I understand there have been times when we have had no other option, and the ideal replacement, young Marcos Alonso, has a broken leg at the moment.  Another capable replacement, Sam Ricketts, is still recovering from a long-term knee injury.  Can Dedryck Boyata play left back?  How about Gary Cahill, or even Nigel Reo-Coker?

I don't know the answer, but something has to be done, and anything is better than Paul Robinson.

We play Norwich at home tomorrow, a great chance to get another three points and get our season back on track.  If I were picking the team, this is what I would do;

Steinnson, Cahill, Knight, Boyata
M. Davies, Muamba
Petrov, Tuncay, Kakuta

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