“We concede too many… let’s get more bad defenders!”
Not the exact words of the man Wanderers fans love to hate, but pretty close.

The opening fixture of the season saw Bolton boss Gary Megson pick 3 new defenders ahead of last seasons regulars.  Jloyd Samuel seemed to have come on leaps and bounds and played every premier league game of the season in 2008/09.  On the opposite side Gretar Steinsson seemed to be finding his feet and had settled in well also proved a threat going forward.  Fans were more than a little shocked when Megson left both out on the opening day against Sunderland where Bolton slumped to a 1-0 defeat.

Megson said:

“Jlloyd and Gretar played consistently last year but we had a back four that let 54 goals in — which is too many,”

and also

“That back four also kept only seven clean sheets — which is not enough.”

On the face of it, in simple terms this arguament could seem reasonable.  But it goes much deeper.  Leaving aside the fact that Gary Megson’s super negative style of football meant the Bolton defence were under huge amounts of pressure for large parts of every game, the figures just don’t add up.
He supposedly replaced the two fullbacks due to the number of goals conceeded but here is the flaw, he replaced Samuel with Robinson, a player from a relegated side who conceeded 67 goals, the worst defence in the division.  He replaced Steinsson with former Hull man Ricketts who’s side also conceeded more than Bolton, leaking 64 goals in total (the second worst in the league). Bolton conceeded 54 goals in the league and Megson saw fit to replace his fullbacks with players carrying an even worse record.

There is a lot more to football than simple statistics, but in this case Megson has tried to use them to back up his arguament but has shot himself in the foot once again.  If football did come down to numbers anyone could be a manager, and if it does, why has Megson failed to address the team’s main short coming?  Boltons strikers failed to score in 18 out of 38 games, that in a season where Davies had an uncharacteristically high tally (ie more than 5 for the year).

Megson, please sort out the team, actually, sort out yourself!


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