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Immediate Reaction: Bolton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion

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Anna is away this week, and Dennis steps in. He reacts immediately, emotionally, and a bit unexpectedly.

Braintrust?
Braintrust?
Matthew Lewis

Let's look at a bit of history.  Millwall drew 1-1 with a Bolton side featuring Alex Baptiste, Matt Mills, David Wheater, and Tim Ream as the back four.  Then Bolton beat Watford 2-0 with Baptiste, Mills, Wheater and Ream.  Unfortunately, Mills gets injured.  No problem.  Zat Knight replaces him.  Baptiste, Wheater, and Ream remain.  Bolton beat Blackburn Rovers 4-0.  The next week, Baptiste, Knight, Wheater, and Ream start together again.  Bolton Wanderers defeat Leeds United 5-1.

This was Bolton's best run of the season.  And despite all of the headlines relating to the goals, it was built on the back of the defense.  So what does manager Dougie Freedman do for the next match?  He makes another change, dropping Wheater to the bench.  Baptiste, Knight, Ream, and Alan Hutton manage to keep another clean sheet, but it was shaky at times.

That brings us to today.  Not satisfied, desperate to prove some sort of point, Freedman changes the defense again.  This time it is Baptiste, Wheater, Ream, and Hutton.  All of the chopping and changing in the middle of a winning run unsurprisingly disrupts the back four.  They looked disjointed today.  One of the goals was a direct result of a poor back pass.

I'm not part of the #Freedmanout brigade.  In fact, I have defended the manager for the most part.  But this week, against Derby County and Brighton & Hove Albion, he tried to be too clever by half.  He outsmarted himself, and Wanderers paid for it.