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Why persist with Benik Afobe?

Chris Brunskill

Benik Afobe is only 19 years old and is touted as a pacey forward with strength for days. For Bolton Wanderers, he has been employed way more often than not as a second-half substitute meant to run the opposition ragged. He is expected to come in when Bolton are down a goal and beat the tired defensive line for pace. How often has that happened, you ask?


Of the 20 league games that Bolton Wanderers have played this season, Benik Afobe has been involved in 14. Four of those have been games that he started and ten have been off the bench when he was supposed to do the job mentioned above. Yet, in those 14 games, Afobe has managed just nine shots. That's nearly one shot every two games. Never mind a goal every two games, we're talking about shots! Of those nine shots, eight have been on target and only one was a goal.

At some point you have to realize that there's a trend.

Now, the issue isn't the use of a young, supposedly pacy substitute in every match. The issue is that Bolton Wanderers get just about nothing from persisting with Benik Afobe. At best, it opens the door for future Arsenal loanees at the Reebok. At worst? Well, this is the worst.

If we're going to have a supposedly pacy striker come on late and (maybe) do something to help the Wanderers in a match, why not make it one of our own? Marvin Sordell isn't making the impact that every Bolton fan had hoped he would but he has also not been given a chance under Dougie Freedman. In fact, he has not even made the bench since the 0-0 draw vs. Leicester City.

Since signing on January deadline day last season, Sordell has made just nine appearances for Bolton Wanderers with three that were not off the bench. He was called the best finisher at the club by Owen Coyle but his shooting record this season really hasn't shown that. In six appearances this season, Sordell has shot seven times (way better ratio than Afobe) but only one shot has been on goal (way worse than Afobe).

One of the (potentially many) issues for Marvin Sordell is a lack of consistent game time. How can he possibly gel with the team in a competitive setting without being given time on the pitch. That goes back to Benik Afobe. If we're using time and space on a player that hasn't proved anythign yet, I'm saying it should be one of our own.