There were few positives to take from this game for Owen Coyle and his men, as Bolton Wanderers suffered defeat at the hands of a newly-promoted Norwich City side in their own backyard. The Trotters really lacked a cutting edge going forward in the game, and were lacklustre in defence, particularly at set-pieces with Norwich making them pay twice in this situation. On this occasion, it has to be said, a combination of poor team selection and bad defending cost Bolton dearly.
Manager Owen Coyle was expected to make big changes to his starting XI for this encounter, with it seen as the perfect opportunity to try out some new players whilst collecting the three points. Norwich certainly showed, however, that they are no pushovers, but Bolton had only themselves to blame for defeat. What is worrying is that whatever message Coyle is trying to get across to his players in training there is no sign of it being put into action on game day.
Prior to this game Bolton had already suffered three straight league defeats, and changes to the team were seemingly inevitable but they were not large or significant. Question marks have been raised over the ability of Tuncay Sanli in the past and he was fairly ineffective down the right hand side for Bolton in this game, with two more natural right-sided players in the form of Chris Eagles and the untried Gael Kakuta, his selection was questionable before the ball had even been kicked.
Going forward in this game Bolton were clearly lacking, even before Ivan Klasnic got sent off, for what was an act of stupidity as he moved his head towards Marc Tierney who took full advantage of the little contact there was by throwing himself to the ground, earning the Bolton man a red card. Regardless of this Bolton were clearly devoid of pace and creativity going forward.
Norwich are far from the toughest opposition that Bolton will face this season, and with it being a home fixture greater standards would be expected. Martin Petrov scored the only goal of the game for Bolton with a penalty, converting after David N’Gog won the spot kick. This consolation goal will prove to be little comfort, however, as Bolton went on to collect no points from this must win encounter.
The way in which The Trotters were defeated is also cause for concern as they did little to console on-looking fans. Conceding from set pieces is not a habit a team can afford to get into in the Premier League and it was particularly disappointing that the two Norwich goals came about in this manner. Surprisingly it was the man who had been much sought after all summer, Gary Cahill, that was to blame for the first as he completely lost his man. Once again for the second he was caught ball watching and did not put in a good shift.
Coyle must resolve this slump in form and consider switching from the predictable 4-4-2 that he fields each week, or else it could only be a matter of time before there are calls for his head.
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