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5 Things: Bolton v Bournemouth

As the pressure mounts on Bolton boss Dougie Freedman after yet another disappointing result and performance, we now have a look at 5 things the game taught us, although they may not be new

Charlie Crowhurst

1) The Clinical Juke

Lukas Jutkiewicz made his first home start for Bolton Wanderers in the home game vs. Eddie Howes Bournemouth. The on-loan forward had impressed in the disappointing away defeat at Ipswich Town and many Wanderers fans were ‘eager' to see the forward in action at The Reebok.

In many ways, Jutkiewicz is just the forward Bolton have been looking for. Despite Freedman's claims, Bolton have not really evolved from a time that relies on a target man and many have tried and failed as the Wanderers look to keep the ball up the pitch and away from their faltering back line.

Jutkiewicz used his chest well to find space on receiving the long ball, allowing the midfield to catch up and play from there. His goal was a fine example of forward play as he used his body well to get into a position to score a very good goal to give Bolton a two goal lead.

2) Freedman's job is not safe

A recent poll on this very site gave quite a surprising result that Wanderers fans are almost split on the matter of whether our manager should be given the sack.

Personally I had to check the result numerous times in honest disbelief  the Scot had the support he did, I had expected quite a landslide result in favour of his sacking. After a particular Freedman performance, I am going to put forward my perspective on the Freedman conundrum.

Dougie Freedman has failed as Bolton manager and if it was not for the poor quality of the teams at the bottom of the division, we would be in serious danger of being relegated. Even more worrying than our inability to put teams to the sword and leak goals at an alarming rate is the simple fact that good performances have been so scarce under our beleaguered boss.

A frequent and basic criticism of our previous manager Owen Coyle was the poor standard of training and a reliance on key players to bring moments of magic on the day. With Freedman, the issues are deeper, there is a distinct lack of motivation coupled with palpable fear in defensive positions, no matter who wins his pre match lotto to start in which defensive position.

I strongly believe that in the entirety of his tenure, Freedman has failed to get the best out of any of his players and on this basis I feel it is time to look elsewhere.

3) Spearing / Medo

A substitution which many have identified as a real critical moment was the introduction of Medo Kamara for the impressive Mark Davies whilst the Wanderers were still in front. The decision was met with fury from the Wanderers fans who wanted Bolton to put their opposition to the sword and push for a third.

The introduction meant that Medo was partner by fellow defensive midfielder and world pointing at people champion, Jay Spearing. I have covered this issue in pretty much every 5 Things I have written and the crux of the matter will be no surprise to those reading.

These two simply cannot play together and create a real issue for the Bolton side as they continue to surrender possession to their opponents and create genuine pressure which we know Bolton struggle to deal with.
I do not believe it is as simple as this Gary Megson-esque substitutions cost us the game but it was certainly a major factor and once Bournemouth were back level, Bolton's creative impetus was no more.

4) Formation

When a team is struggling for form, fans tend to question their formation and more often than not favour the introduction of another forward to the frontline. A simple question, should Bolton Wanderers go 4-4-2 and could Jermaine Beckford really profit from the effective hold up play of Lukas Jutkiewicz.

If Bolton are creating chances there is no real issue in front of goal, Bolton's, main issue in terms of attacking has been the absence of a player of quality who can go past a player or come inside and influence proceedings, a bit like Eagles and Chung-Yong did under Coyle. It is also why we all raved over a distinctly average player in Liam Feeney.

Mark Davies with his sloping attacking runs is all Wanderers really have asides from The Juke fashioning his own chances from our hopeless long ball.

Perhaps when Beckford is fit and firing those two could form an effective combination, but for now I feel it is important for us to focus on the supply line and retain possession for longer periods rather than playing two up front merely for the sake of it. 

5) Acting Manager

A real emerging story from this game was the revelation the Bolton Wanderers had named Dougie Freedman as ‘Acting Manager' on their team sheet for the game.

Perhaps one of the most ill-timed template related errors since the ‘fun fact' incident at The Grammy's this year led to a frenzy as many believed the club had made action against its under fire manager,

Bolton News Football writer, Marc Iles allayed any Wanderers fans fear (or hopes) as he announced the BWFC press team had merely used the wrong template which itself had an anticlimactic feel.