Bolton's uncanny ability to make opposition goalkeepers look world class

Chris Brunskill

With all things considered, Bolton's start under Dougie Freedman is pretty good, well, at the back anyway.

After four games, Bolton are undefeated with one win and three draws in that stretch and having allowed a total of four goals and keeping one clean sheet. A run like that under Owen Coyle was just about impossible as Bolton averaged double that goals allowed number. The largest (and possibly only) real reason that Bolton are not in better position having, say, eight points or 11, is due to an inability to finish.

From those four games, Bolton have only scored five times. That low scoring number certainly isn't from a lack of shooting, I can tell you that.

In that short span, Bolton Wanderers have played Cardiff City, Leicester City, Blackpool, and Barnsley with three of those at the Reebok. Bolton have fire in 48 shots over those four games with 35 on target. That's a 73% shot accuracy rating. Of those 48 shots, only five hit the back of the net, a 10.4% conversion rate. Bolton averaged 12 shots in each game.

If only five of 35 shots came to goals, that means that 30 of have been saved by opposition goalkeepers. Averaged out, that's 7.5 saves per game that Bolton are giving the opposition. Some of these were good saves, ones that took quick reactions and goalkeepers at full stretch but believe you me, the majority were not. The majority fell right to the opposition goalkeeper. I have personally lost count of how many times the goalkeeper did not have to move against Bolton Wanderers to make a save.

The fact of the matter is that the Trotters need to be more clinical in front of goal to build on the work that Dougie Freedman and his men have done at the back. The defense is much less of a liability now than it was just three weeks ago yet the offense just cannot start scoring.

We desperately worried about what would happen when Chris Eagles cooled down and it seems like that has happened. The winger still leads the Bolton's goalscoring chart with six goals but he has not found the back of the net under Dougie Freedman. Bolton do not have someone leading by example at the front right now. Those five goals that the men in white have scored have come from five different players in Mark Davies, Chung-Yong Lee, Kevin Davies, David Ngog, and Martin Petrov.

It's time for the forwards to step up.

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