Why Bolton lost 5-0, and why we need Sturridge

19Apr11

Having only just come to terms with Sunday’s abysmal Wanderers’ display I have now decided to put finger to keyboard and get a few things off my chest about the way Bolton capitulated at Wembley.

There are a number of reasons why Bolton Wanderers ended up on the wrong end of a 5-0 semi final thrashing at the hands of Premier League rivals Stoke City. Not least in that list of reasons is how badly we missed Daniel Sturrdidge. But before I go on to discuss the massive unfillable hole left in our team by his cuptied-ness I want to reflect on the game as a whole.

Firstly, in my humble opinion, Stoke did not thrash us. Yes the game finished 5-0 and the score line was one sided and headline grabbing but the reality of how the game played out is not that Stoke were amazing it is more that Bolton were awful. At two nil down and even three nil I was just waiting until Wanderers turned on their usual style. I had a lot of confidence that if we stuck to our game, or should I say got into our usual stride, we could still get something out of the match, perhaps not extra time, but at least go out with a little pride. But alas, Bolton did not turn up as a team. We never got out of reverse. Stoke were not magnificent, only the scoreline was impressive. On another day, Stoke could play at exactly the same standard and end up well beaten by a fully functioning Bolton side. All in all it was Bolton Wanderers’ who gifted the game to Stoke rather than Stoke playing us off the park.

To be outclassed by a better side and be beaten 5-0 is one thing, and a little easier to swallow than what I witnessed on Sunday, but to throw a game down the toilet in such a manner is quite another. To illustrate my point: Last weekend Bolton beat West Ham 3-0 at the Reebok. I would say that was an example of a team being dominated and out played. It was a game where Wanderers created countless chances, strung scores of passes together all over the field, turned their defenders and midfielders inside out on numerous occasions and literally could have come away from the game with 12 or 13 goals. The Bolton – Stoke game was not of that ilk.  It was more akin to a boxer turning up for a fight, hearing the bell go, and the proceeding to lie down for the count without even receiving a blow.  Apart from Stoke not particularly outclassing Bolton but rather Bolton just not putting up a fight there was also the manner in which the goals were scored.

The goals were either of Bolton’s own pathetic making or were speculative efforts which on almost any other day would end up in row z or beyond. To have three of them go in from twenty odd yards out is just something you cannot legislate for. From what I recall, without rewatching the game or the goals because it’s far too painful, Stoke had 3, maybe 4, long-range attempts and all three of them ended up in the back of the net. Statistically that just does not happen, and for it to happen takes a real big slice of fortune. Add to that the mistakes that Bolton made which created the chances in the first place for Stoke, on every goal, and you have yourself a losing team. Stoke didn’t play the ball around for 5 minutes and carve out great openings for their goals. They didn’t have Bolton on the rack with relentless pressure and 35 corners. Every goal for Stoke was the result of sloppy, lazy or poor play from Bolton. Yes Stoke took their chances and capitalised on the mistakes, which is fine, but it’s just gut wrenching to come so far only to throw it away so badly.

Having said all that I felt that Bolton did not give themselves a great chance from the off. The team selection from Coyle was questionable, as was the over reliance and blind faith in Kevin Davies who was a total Wembley flop along with almost every other player. Mark Davies, one of the most talented young midfielders in the country sat out until we were 3-0 down, a player who I think should be starting, especially in Holden’s absence. Also, Coyle must see that the difference in recent games for us has been Daniel Sturridge up top. So to plump for a front two of Klasnic and Kevin Davies was just never going to work. And to bring the useless plank of Matt Taylor into the fray at 3-0 was almost as worthwhile as saying lets not bother with the second half.

The one positive from that game, if you can call it a positive, is that hopefully Coyle will sit up and take notice of what we are really lacking in the side. A semi final win at Wembley may have glossed over some of the cracks in the side and we may have gone blindly into next season with high hopes and an expectation that Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic as  Premier League pair would actually suffice. Both players are offering less and less every time I see them play and this feeling is compounded when I see the likes of Sturridge tearing defences to shreds for fun in front of my very eyes. If Bolton can’t somehow hang on to Daniel Sturridge for next season then Coyle needs to have a major front line shake up and bring some new attacking options in.

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3 Responses to “Why Bolton lost 5-0, and why we need Sturridge”

  1. 1 mumphLT

    I think you are kidding yourself matey & being a little churlish, you had a couple of guys out for sure but Stoke had Higgy out and neither full back was playing in their natural position. after the first 120 minutes it wasn’t just your team underperformed – Stoke didn’t let them perform & Stoke took the chances that were offered and took them well; as Stoke learned when we first got promoted – against a Prem team if you let them have a chance then you will pay for it.

  2. 2 mark

    You’re hilarious, talk about clutching at straws . You we’re thrashed! WE ARE STOKE WE ARE STOKE WE ARE STOOOOOOOOOOOOKE,ha ha ha ,bloody hilarious.Have you ever considered a comedy routine.

    • 3 mick

      What a bunch of numpties you are Stoke are a crappy long ball team just like Bolton were for years but you’s are worse coz you aint got players like Jay Jay Okocha to spice things up. You’re team are the most boring to watch in the league and that’s a fact.
      Stoke didn’t let them perform what shite you are spewing Bolton played crap and you are just showing how inbred you are if you think that would have happened if they had played as well as they’ve been playing all season in the prem.

      I hope City pound your inbred arses back to that hovel you call a city!


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