We don't really give the reserves much love on the blog, mainly because it would be ridiculously difficult to watch them in foreign countries, however it is impossible to ignore the lineup that faced Arsenal reserves yesterday. John Henry, our reserves manager played quite a few first teamers, including Stu Holden who is still working his way back up to full fitness and made it through another 90 minutes. Arsenal meanwhile was not devoid of recognizable names, most notably new signing Oxlade-Chamberlain. Teams below the jump.
Bolton: Bogdan, Riley, Blakeman (McQuade 16), Wheater, Connolly, Holden, Kakuta, Pratley (Vela 61), N'gog, Tuncay (O'Halloran 69), Blake
Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Boateng, Miquel (Angha 78), Meade, Coquelin, Aneke, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozyakup (Yennaris 80), Miyaichi (Freeman 61), Watt
It is encouraging seeing such large names in the reserve side, giving an impression of depth (for more on that, check out asteroidblues37's depth chart). It is true that many of these names are new to Bolton (Kakuta, Pratley, Tuncay, N'Gog), which gave Owen Coyle a chance to see them in action as he watched from the stands. N'Gog got a brace, while Tuncay provided the third. It looked like the Wanderers were going to pull out a victory, but a late Arsenal goal, reportedly against the run of play, assured the visitors wouldn't return home empty handed.
Of the match, Henry said:
"Overall it was an extremely pleasing evening. The conditions were again difficult, but I think that [Coyle] was delighted with the response from the first team boys that played... It helps the younger lads, who get the chance to share a dressing room with international class players such as Stuart Holden or Tuncay."
It is good that the reserves can be used as an outlet for new players attempting to break into the team, although by the sounds of it, it will only make Coyle's selection process more difficult. The goals from two new boys will surely give them a confidence boost, and gives the manager a reason to play them on Saturday as we desperately need a result. The further from the transfer window we get, the more impressed I am with the business we did. After the United debacle, seeing this from the reserves has made me excited to watch Bolton again.