Friday, August 25, 2006

Bolton Preview

I’m not so sure that I agree with Dowie’s claim that we “haven’t been put to the sword” in either of our first two games. The fact that we lost to Manchester United doesn’t really bother me, but the manner of the defeat was pretty morale sapping.

Towards the end of the Curbishley era there were a number of occasions where the heads of the players visibly dropped after going a goal behind, and that generally resulted in the opposition helping themselves to further goals. I’m a little worried because a similar thing happened on Wednesday night. I remember commenting at half time that although they had hit both the bar and the post, I didn't feel particularly threatened by United. Then half time came and went, they scored, our heads dropped, and they scored again and again. This is an alarming trait that our players seem to have, and one that needs to be nipped in the bud before it develops into a full-blown confidence crisis. If we do go behind in matches, we need to have the belief that we can still get something from them.

I saw a set of statistics towards the end of last year, which showed how many points Premiership teams had accrued when coming from behind in matches. I can’t find the link now, but we were awfully low in that table.

People within the media and on the various football forums net wide are widely tipping us to struggle now that they have seen our first two results, and this slide needs to be arrested immediately. We have never before been bottom of the Premiership, even in 98/99 when we got relegated. I don’t think we have ever lost the first four fixtures of a league campaign in my lifetime either, but with Chelsea (a) next up on the list it just goes to show what an important fixture it is at The Valley tomorrow.

Traore will come back into the fold and will make his home debut; it also looks as though Reid is set to figure from the start aswell. Wyn Grant reported earlier in the week that Bolanos’ work permit has finally been approved, so we could in theory be welcoming three new Addicks to The Valley this weekend. Presumably Hughes will drop out of the side for Reid, and Fortune for Traore with HH switching back into the centre. I don’t envisage any other changes.

Sam Allardyce and his league of nations arrive unbeaten after their first two matches, with a win at home against Tottenham followed up by an away draw with Fulham. They also have an excellent record at The Valley over the last 5 years, having beaten us on four occasions and drawn the other. We surely must be due a win against this side, and we can draw hope from the fact that they haven’t taken 3 points on their travels since the 17th December 2005. In fact, they have only scored one goal on the road in their last 5 League matches, and that was the penalty they were awarded at the cottage on Wednesday night.

I hate playing Bolton. They are well organised, but they are also dirty and boring. I don’t envisage this one being a classic by any means, but when you are scrapping for your lives at the bottom of the league (and we are, by the way) I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice entertaining football for three points.

I’m going onto nights this week, so the match report is unlikely to be up until late on Sunday/early Monday. Apologies in advance.

Cynic Athletic’s Prediction – 2-1 Win (Ambrose, Hasselbaink – Nolan)


Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

I think you will find that Bolanos has yet to get approval, Wyn was saying that it was expected .. but no announcement ... yet

12:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nowhere to go but out, nowhere to come but back!"
I aint giving up on the lads, at least I aint falling asleep this year, even in the bloody rain.

7:57 am  
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