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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest

Editor, innovator, gobshite - Chris is back behind the wheel of his baby

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Now THAT was a football match.

I'm not going to bore you with any sort of preamble - I need your boots, your clothes and your motorcycle. Let's dive straight in:

1) Wellington Silva

I think we have a player here, yana. Arsenal, for all the laughs they provide, can be given credit for finding the odd gem here and there - and with the lad Silva I think we may be on to something.

Starting on the left of the attack behind central striker Gary Madine, the nimble and nifty Brazilian wide-man provided a direct style of running and a willingness to improvise that caught Nottingham Forest on the hop - prompting American defender Eric Lichaj into an early booking.

He tired as the game wore on, understandably, but his creative inspiration got the crowd going, and provided a much-needed source of pace on the counter attack. His Arsenal-imbued instincts led to the winning of a couple of somewhat weak free-kics, but so long as we're getting them, and not the opposition, then I'm not going to moan too much - unlike your mothers.

So yeah, Arsene Wenger has done Bolton Wanderers a solid - and I'm grateful.

2) A Prince Among Men

My esteemed LOVpod colleague @DownTheMannyRd is correct in his belief that Dorian Dervite needs someone alongside him to provide direction - and the Frenchman's performance was impressive on Saturday against Nottingham Forest - but I think that you can put much of that improvement down to the man beside him - one Prince-Désir Gouano.

The 21 year old Parisian impressed me, and I am not easily impressed. He reminded me of Mark Fish in the way that he had complete confidence in his own ability, and though he would take risks he has the composure and pace to compensate should things perhaps not go the way he intended.

He dominated whoever the Forest forward was, both in the air and on the deck, and looked comfortable throughout. The fact that his performance rubbed off on Dervite is an added bonus. I should think that if these confident performances continue then we would activate that £250,000 agreed fee sooner rather than later, as we did with Abdouleye Faye back in times past.

3) Zach Clough is a Marked Man

I love Cloughy, but Saturday was a hard lesson in the realities of first-team football. Last season saw the Denton-born wizard slalom through defences like they weren't there - but this year he isn't the unknown quantity that he once was.

Nottingham Forest deployed two men to mark him - such is his newfound reputation. Former Arsenal and FC Twente man Kyle Ebecilio combined forces with ex-Hamburg and Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne to snuff out the threat that Clough poses.

I found it interesting that the man who nearly derailed Clough's Bolton Wanderers career was so afraid of the wee man that he gave him such respect as to have his midfield enforcers concentrate solely on keeping him quiet.

Clough will have better days, for sure, he is that damned good.

4) The Gary Madine Conundrum

Now, don't get me wrong - I was really impressed with how Madine dominated former Bolton boy Matt Mills - to the point where the former Manchester City defender visibly cowered when faced with the aerial might of our new striker.

What concerned me was the fact that Madine seemingly posed about as much of a goal threat as 450 year old supersub Emile Heskey.

We cannot afford to have passengers - that's why we binned off Craig Davies (currently fighting a relegation battle in the Third Division at Wigan Athletic) - and while Madine is clearly an asset in the air he is exactly a passenger if he isn't scoring.

We need to learn to play to his strengths - we need to improve our crossing to him, and he needs to improve his first touch and finishing - but the potential is there.

The missed penalty was farcical. For one thing I didn't think it was a penalty, and for another to allow Madine to take it was just bizarre. As Neil Lennon said last season, a penalty is such a difficult skill that you should really let your most technically gifted player have that responsibility. Lennon's choice was Lee Chung-Yong before his move to Crystal Palace - with that in mind I wonder why Mark Davies or Zach Clough didn't take that responsibility.

I'm not writing Madine off - I just think that he could have done better. I counted four free headers that he failed to convert. I'll let him have this one as a practice, but next time please score, Gaz. If I can call you Gaz.

5) The Atmosphere

Well - that was very encouraging.

We've had word of this with the LOVpod and with the Facebook groups committed to improving the atmosphere at the Reebok, but Saturday's game was the first time that I had seen it in action, and had seen it work.

Now, I despise the drum - always have - but this and the lack of goal music really contributed to a superb atmosphere that felt a LOT like the good old days.

Congratulations to all involved, even if you're one of the Reebok Roar notrights, but it really did make for a more interesting and engaging matchday and I hope it remains the same going forward.

Notable Mentions

* I nearly pissed myself when I saw Dougie take off a forward with 2mins left, to bring on a defender.....and then concede. It was like the old days again.

* Neil Danns - what else is there to say.

* Liam Feeney - thought he was excellent when he came on

* Stephen Dobbie - I owe you an apology. I was midway through "Stephen friggin Dobbie - is that how far we've falle....OHHHHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS WHAT A GOAL!


Football eh - it's good to be back.