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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Wigan Athletic (Bolton Fan's Perspective)

By Rob
Sunday 12th February 2012
Yet another woeful, totally unprepared Bolton Wanderers performance saw the Trotters outplayed and outclassed by Wigan Athletic in a tense Lancashire derby.

Even the most optimistic Bolton fan would admitted that 3 points against the league's bottom club was an absolute necessity if Wanderers had any realistic hope of surviving relegation. Yet, despite positive results against Liverpool and Arsenal, the side again let down their home supporters with an abysmal, dispirited, ineffective display.

In a first half dominated by the visitors Bolton failed to cause their former goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi any threat whatsoever. The home side was made to pay for their ineffectiveness when they went behind right on the stroke of half-time. Bolton's defence failed to deal with a corner and Gary Caldwell escaped the clutches of David Wheater to head home.

The visitors pushed on in the second half and could have doubled their lead as James McArthur wasted a gilt-edge opportunity having been played in by the impressive Victor Moses.

Soon after Bolton showed a rare moment of fight and brought the match level. A ball booted downfield Adam Bogdan, mysteriously still in the Bolton goal despite Jussi Jaaskalainen's return from injury, bounced off David Ngog's back and into the path of Mark Davies. The little midfielder moved forward with the ball and smashed it into the net from 20 yards out.

The goal breathed a little life into the Bolton team but, predictably, they failed to take advantage of the lifeline and allowed Wigan to steal all 3 points. Moses, who was a constant thorn in Bolton's slow and immobile defence, burst away from Sam Ricketts whose shot was parried by Bogdan only to be tapped in by McArthur for the winner.

Bolton's performance again shows Owen Coyle's total inability to properly prepare his side for big matches and highlights his dreadful tactic and personnel selections.

In recent matches Coyle has, as I've been calling for all season, ditched his much-loved 4-4-2 formation and reverted to playing one up front. The move provided Bolton with a more stable midfield and enabled players like Mark Davies and Chris Eagles more creative opportunities. But against Wigan the 4-4-2 was strangely back - serving as proof that when the side play this way they get overrun by every team in the league - from Arsenal and Man United to, apparently, Wigan. The move to 4-4-2 saw Mark Davies and Reo-Coker overrun in the centre of midfield as Fabrice Muamba, who has been improved of late, was sacrificed.

On the personnel side, Coyle bizarrely selected Kevin Davies alongside David Ngog despite Davies being clearly past his best, having been out of the side for weeks and without a goal for months. To then replace Davies with the ineffective, lazy Ivan Klasnic, who similarly hasn't played or scored in months, is frankly unbelievable. Coyle's refusal to bring Jaaskalainen back into the side seems ridiculous - even though Bogdan has played well in the Finn's absence, a match of this magnitude required the level head and experience of Jaaskalainen. To not see this shows Coyle is well and truly out of his depth.

This defeat leaves Wigan just 1 point behind Bolton at the foot of the table, while just one point separates the Trotters in 19th and QPR in 16th. The relegation scrap threatens to be a tense affair but given Bolton and Coyle's total lack of reaction to the 4 points picked up against Liverpool and Arsenal, we have to be considered as favourites for the drop.

Bolton: Bogdan; Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts; Eagles (Tuncay 58'), M Davies, Reo-Coker, Petrov (Miyaichi 46); K Davies (63), Ngog. Unused subs: Jaaskalainen, Boyata, Muamba, Pratley.

Goals: M Davies (67)

Wigan: Al-Habsi; Figueroa, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Boyce; Moses, Gomez (Rodallega 74), McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, di Santo (Jones 90). Unused subs: Nicholls, Stam, Crusat, Watson, Diame.

Goals: Caldwell (45), McArthur (76)

Total articles: 69

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