Without a shadow of a doubt, Saturday was the worst Bolton Wanderers game I’ve ever been to. In all my years watching the Whites, there have been some very dark days. Days where I thought the club was mere moments away from extinction. Days where we were beaten that badly, it felt like we only had 5 men on the pitch. Days where results we desperately needed didn’t come. Yesterday falls into the latter category, but this time, things were much, much worse.
We started brightly with a flurry of attacks coming down both flanks. Both Robinson & Little were in the game and looking lively, and Madine actually hit the post early on. After the first ten minutes, though, we regressed into the weak, timid, lightweight 2017/18 Bolton Wanderers. Completely devoid of ideas in all areas of the pitch, it’s absolutely staggering how a team that did so well last seaon can turn up, week in, week out, and put in a spineless, pathetic performances. The fact that that sentence is plural speaks volumes.
The main sources (yes, also plural) of the majority of our problems were messers Morais, Cullen & Karacan. All three of these absolute liabilities can get the fuck off, for me. Morais was particularly poor, and yes he was out of position, but that doesn’t excuse being fucking shit with the ball at your feet, particulary when you’re paid thousands of pounds per week for said service. Cullen is out of his depth; far too inexperienced for this division and, to be quite frank, absolutely miles off the pace 99% of the time. Karacan is the best of a bad bunch here - he tries hard and is the only one who ever looks like making anything happen in that area, but still, he’s pretty poor all things considered.
Largely thanks to the performance of these three stumps in midfield, we left ourselves open to almost every Brentford attack through the middle. Considering we’re playing 3-5-2, you’d think that’d be an obvious area of potential weakness; an area where we need tough-tackling personnel. Someone like Jay Spearing, perhaps?
Anyway, there was one point in the first half where their full back picked up the ball in his position and carried it almost 60 yards, dancing around weak, amateur tackles from our midfield shitehawks, and, to a extent, the comedy duo of Beevers and Wheater. Lo and behold, after three or four iterations of the same move from the wel-drilled opposition, we gave away a free kick and conceded a world class goal.
Fast forward 50 minutes and we’ve conceded two more goals at the hands of very, very impressive finishes. Did we ever look like scoring at the other end? Not really. We were ineffective. We caused Brentford minimal problems. The gulf between their squad and ours is absolutely staggering, and given our league positions, that makes for grim thinking. We don’t defend as a unit. We don’t tackle properly, and when we do, we give away needless free kicks. We don’t attack with purpose and bully teams into submission like we did six months ago. We don’t create chances or even look like we’re about to ignite that creative spark.
I could spend hours and hours discussing what went wrong on Saturday but I think the majority of us are now coming to the same conclusion. If things don’t drastically improve next week, we are going to be in a very tough, almost irreversible situation. Whether you think Phil Parkinson has been hard done by or should be kept around to rectify this dreadful start to the season, it doesn’t really matter. Our league position speaks for itself and if things don’t improve soon, we’ll be too far behind to catch up.
In summary: I’m worried about the Wanderers. Are you?