That's not a bad result at all is it? There were a lot of good points that came out of this game, although it can't be denied that in the end that scoreline is a little disappointing.
Bolton started out the game very strong, maintaining possession of the ball, and rarely letting it cross the halfway line. It was as though the Spurs midfield was asleep, none of the Spurs attacking force did much of anything in the first half (though Jermaine Defoe did manage to get himself booked for a tiff with Matty). Let's get into what our team did right, starting with the back four.
I must say, I'm quite pleased with them, aside from nearly giving me a heart attack with his almost own goal, even Paul Robinson didn't do too poorly. Someone clearly told him he can't tackle for shit, and so he maintained a shepard-the-ball-out-of-play strategy, which worked quite well. While I still don't like playing him (call me old fashioned, but I like defenders who can tackle) until Cahill comes back, which may be sooner than we originally thought, he'll do. As for Knight and Ricketts, I must say I think they've both grown immensely this season. At the beginning I was fairly critical of both of them, but I think they've vastly improved as footballers and are now rather good. And of course I've always like Steinsson and I think he did well yesterday. The four of them are really functioning as a unit, something our defense has been incapable of most of the season.
On to the mdfield. In the first half they played really well, with Muamba and Gardener nailing it down, and Chung-Yong and Matty taking care of the creative part. Chung-Yong didn't have his best game, though he made several lovely runs in the first half. He was made to be quiet after the break by Gareth Bale, and substituted off for Mark Davies, which I thought was a rather negative move. After the break Gardener stopped doing much of anything, so were I in charge I would've subbed him off for Stuart Holden, who still hasn't made an appearance. Matt Taylor had a decent match, though he still isn't as good as he was last season, he did nearly score with a wonderful free kick.
Now the strikeforce, where to begin? After things looked up for Elmander a little in the fall, he seems to have returned to his previous, goalless ways. He's great on the ball, can control it well and makes good passes, but it's like there's a force field around the goal, and he just can't get on target. Its beginning to really frustrate me again, and I want Klasnic back now. To his credit though, he did have a lovely set-up pass for the Kevin Davies goal, which by the way was a beauty. My father and I even carried out a brief duet of "Super Kev" to celebrate (I know, we're dorks). The nice thing about this goal was not just the finishing though, this was a team effort, a 16-pass move which negates the incessant long ball critique that those who don't watch Bolton make. So there.
All of that praise being said, we truly lacked finishing skills. We had a 60 minute period of utter dominance and we only scored once. Many, many shots were sent into the crowd, and there were even some sent to Gomes' hands, but Bolton as a team do not have a good shot. I think that if Klasnic had been playing we could have gotten at least one more goal, and if everyone on the team (especially you, Muamba) was a little sharper the half-time score would have looked more like 4-0.
That's all for right now, but I'll be back tomorrow with a Wigan preview, until then.