Five Things: Bolton Wanderers v. Queens Park Rangers

Tony Marshall

With worries on defense and in attack, the loss against Queens Park Rangers did not leave much for Bolton Wanderers fans to be happy without. These are the five things we noticed.

1. Poor Defensive Play

Why does a combination of David Wheater and Zat Knight still exist? While they lasted longer than they normally do this game, as soon as Queens Park Rangers started pressing, the middle of our defense collapsed and boom, goal. I understand that Knight is our captain, but it's getting to the point where even the most hopeful Bolton Wanderers fans are getting a bit worried. It would be one thing if the Trotters had a solid defense; waiting around for our offense to click would be tolerable then but the squad doesn't seem to have any solid parts to it. You have to wonder if this will be the defense we keep all season or if Dougie Freedman will make the (what seem like) necessary changes. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Knight and Wheater seem too slow to work efficiently and their height doesn't seem to help them in the air. It seems to be a lose-lose and I think with this defense, that's all we'll do.

2. Lack of Strikers

As if a crumbling defense wasn't worrisome enough, we're also dealing with a very inept offense. We seem to have no presence up front, which could continue to end badly for us. While we're not successfully completing shots, Jermaine Beckford is starting to take them and be more aggressive which is always a good sign. However, his momentum only carries him so far before the opportunity is wasted; it seemed like he had 2 left feet Saturday and to be honest, I quickly got sick of his act. He seemed to spend more time on the ground with an "injury" than he did anything else.

I was unimpressed with Beckford's lack of creativity but it is understandable because it isn't really Beckford's job to create. During the game we were looking to get the ball to Chung-Yong Lee to cut out chances for Beckford and David N'Gog and it just didn't happen. The striker had a few chances during the match with one particularly good one in which he went in alone against QPR goalkeeper, Rob Green. The Bolton man made a hash of it, dragging the effort wide of the far post.

Perhaps Mark Davies, Chris Eagles, or even Andre Moritz could help here, but fitness, long-term injury, and form all seem to be preventing the switch.

3. Ball Control

We seem to be playing decent football but when Bolton get to the final third and have the ball, they seem to forget what they're doing, which is a bit alarming. There seemed to be loads of botched shots and missed passes and even with QPR making a lot of mistakes that we just can't fully capitalize on. On the bright side, the whole team seems to be playing more aggressively especially in terms of getting to the ball. We're making plays, not completing them, but we're playing at a much faster pace and creating a lot of opportunities. Possession seemed to be pretty even and it was nice to see that we weren't being forced to play defensively for the majority of the game like we have so far this season. We may be lacking strikers, but our offense seems to have some hopes of controlling the ball long enough to put is in control of the game.

4. Chung-Yong Lee

Chungy isn't suited to a central role but to be fair, he ran himself ragged playing for us and for his national team and despite being tired we can't cover him without adding more harm to our team. My main concern is that if we don't get him to rest up soon, his quality of play could decline from what he showed against QPR to the effort put in at Nottingham Forest. I've already seen people say that he won't be the player he was before his injury and that's upsetting to think of, because you know that he does try his best when he's out there. Hopefully once injuries subside, we can give him the well deserved break he needs, or else the team could be risking another absence.

5. Tim Ream

Ream took corners and played solidly which I was ecstatic about. It seems that after ages he's found the right position to play in and I'm so thrilled with the outcome because it means that we could have some sort of stability on the field. He was active enough to make a difference all throughout the game and it seems like even though he wasn't making major plays, what he did do he did well.

I've always thought he would gain from being right behind midfield since he's got great footwork but can't win in the air, and at least for this game that seemed to be true. He was opening up a lot of space for his teammates and just keeping the offense and defense together. A good game boosted fan opinion of him, so hopefully he can continue to play and get better and better.

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