Five Things: Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers

Clint Hughes

Guest writer @drjoemackenzie looks back at the thumping win over Leeds

Another away day and another win for Bolton Wanderers.

Guest writer @drjoemackenzie returns for his second bash at a Five Things article, looking back at the game and wondering what we could have learned from the 5-1 thrashing of Leeds United:

1) Juke/Mason

The on-loan front two continue to grab the headlines, again weighing in with a goal each, with Lukas Jutkiewitz in particular playing a key role in the victory.

The Juke combines physical presence with good close control and an eye for goal, but by far the most impressive aspect of his recent performances has been the manner in which he links up with the rest of the team, exemplified by his partnership with Mason.

2) 4-4-2

The recent upturn in form has coincided with the change in formation back to 442, something many fans had been urging the manager to do for a long while.

While many have put this success down to the front two, the benefits of the change not only in formation but tactics are seen right through the team. With the back four able to press high up the pitch and the midfield looking more disciplined and able to close down the opposition much more quickly, we were able to dominate possession right from the start against a poor Leeds side lacking in pace, unable to spring the offside trap.

Hopefully this approach will continue to work against Derby and Brighton, who have the high-scoring Chris Martin and Leonardo Ulloa as focal points of their attack, neither of whom is blessed with great pace.

After all this time and effort, a switch back to Owen Coyle's traditional direct 442 seems a bit of a step backwards but is certainly working well.

3) Jay Spearing & Medo

A recurring theme of this column over the past season has been the apparent inability of Jay Spearing and Medo Kamara to play together.

Against Leeds, however, this partnership worked superbly, both players excelled in closing down the opposition and looked comfortable in possession. Both players are reaping the benefits of the change in formation and look so much more comfortable.

With the wide players sitting deeper alongside them in a traditional "two lines of four" method, they don't have be continually watching for the runs of the opposition full-backs, and can focus on closing down the middle of the park.

Long may it continue.

4) Adam Bogdan

Unfortunate to have his clean sheet spoiled by the defence switching off at the end of the game, Adam Bogdan looks rejuvenated since reclaiming the number 1 jersey from Andy Lonergan.

It is fair to say that he wasn't tested often against a poor Leeds side, but looked alert and confident whenever called upon, and pulled off a couple of good saves during the second half.

5) Dave Wheater

Earlier this season, on his return from long-term injury, Wheater looked a shadow of his former self.

He seemed to have lost whatever pace he had previously had, looked indecisive and error-prone, exemplified by his mauling at the hands of Danny Ings on the first day of the season.

I wondered then whether he would ever return to the sort of form that saw him touted for an England place and signed as a replacement for Gary Cahill. It has taken plenty of time, but against Leeds he was imperious.

He organised the defence superbly, and the biggest clue to Wheater's return to confidence and form has been the improvement in Zat Knight's level of performance. Knight acts as a barometer to the level of confidence and organisational ability of his defensive partner, as seen when he excelled alongside Gary Cahill or Craig Dawson, and his performance yesterday acts as testament to Wheater's rediscovered form and confidence.

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