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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Oxford United

We came, we saw, we lost and we sucked

Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool - FA Cup Fourth Round Replay Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers didn't exactly throw away three points at the weekend, they rolled them up into a tiny ball, assembled a Roman trebuchet and hoyed the fucker into the Atlantic.

We were appalling and deservedly lost to a strong and organised Oxford United - but you knew that already.

Here are five things that came to mind in the aftermath:

1) Square Pegs

I like Josh Vela - or rather, I want to like Josh Vela.

But is he really any good? He's clearly done well to establish himself in this Bolton Wanderers side (and that of the last 18 months) but he hasn't kicked on and he hasn't ever really dominated a single game like we all hope he can.

To put him at right back was a waste. To play him in midfield MIGHT have been a better option but for me he's an example of a square peg being bashed into a round hole. Expecting him to be a right back is not just unrealistic, it's stupid. His lack of pace was exposed time after time and the first goal came from this sort of mistake.

He's not the only one.

Liam Trotter hasn't made any real position his own.

Gary Madine is still a hopeless centre forward.

Sammy Ameobi and Jamie Proctor are struggling.

Andrew Taylor and Dean Moxey are individually pretty average left-backs, but in combination down the left side they make me want to gouge out my own eyes.

Phil Parkinson has a huge job on his hands at this moment in time.

2) Centre Half Struggles

For me, David Wheater needs a rest - and Mark Beevers was clearly unfit. Again, however, we had no choice but to persevere with the former, and rush the latter back into action.

Wheater started the season really well but looks tired, 11 or so games into the season.

Beevers has been great and so we have no other option but to play him when he's capable.

The fact that Parkinson hasn't bought a new centre half is concerning. His reticence in playing Derik Osede coupled with Dorian Dervite's injuries/shitness has meant that our options are limited.

3) Too Many Forwards

We have Sammy Ameobi, Zach Clough, Gary Madine, Max Clayton (ha), Jamie Proctor and Keshi Anderson all fighting for one or two positions on the field.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem - indeed it would be a nice dilemma, but the strikers have a collective career goals tally, according to Wikipedia, of 119 goals. That's spread across the six options we have in attack.

It's a pretty paltry figure and makes me wonder about our seemingly desperate last day trolley dash. Did we spend all summer chasing Ameobi? Had we decided on Anderson early on? Were they offered to us early on, only for us to say no and then have a change of heart? It makes you think.

We have so many options that it's hard for Parkinson to decide on a first choice pairing. If you think back to the final year at Burnden we have Nathan Blake and John McGinlay as guaranteed first choices - everyone else knew that they were back-up to the main guys and this benefited the team and benefited their partnership.

We don't have that at the moment.

4) Phil Parkinson and the Fans

I don't think Parkinson was necessarily the first choice of too many Bolton Wanderers fans before he was appointed.

Some of the early season fawning was silly, and a lot of the praise that headed his way was hugely premature.

He is, judging on the back of three months, the type of manager who will achieve success for us but it'll be through attrition. I can't imagine there are going to be too many 3-2, or 4-3 wins under his stewardship.

His decision to reduce the width of the Reebok pitch has left us short on width (which makes even less sense when the signings of Ameobi, James Henry and Chris Taylor are considered), and is a change that I would make immediately to give us more attacking options.

His tactics and his substitutions are not creating the sort of impact that we might want and we are looking a team without much creative spark.

The fans are not noted for their patience and the first seeds of discontent have been sown.

5) The Softening of this Cold, Cold Heart

The Ivan Klasnic tribute got to me.

I'm cynical about the motives behind a lot of these 'spontaneous' moments of applause for former players, fans, tea ladies and budgies. It's all a bit Liverpool.

But the Klasnic one was superb. I hope he makes it through and hope that the tributes paid to him by the Bolton fans has brought a smile to his face. Get well soon.