After Bolton Wanderers’ 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the Carling Cup on Tuesday more questions were answered than asked. With the Trotters struggling to pick up points in the league, going up against a so-far undefeated Villa side must have been slightly daunting, with or without star striker Darren Bent. The team must be praised for their performance, then, but they must now carry this good form into their upcoming Premier League fixtures.
Bolton also managed to record a clean sheet, and after poor defensive displays in their last few outings they looked assured at the back, with David Wheater justifying his inclusion alongside Gary Cahill with a solid display. This is encouraging with Arsenal and Chelsea coming up over the next couple of weeks, and Coyle will be hoping that his side can put in another sterling defensive performance on Saturday.
Stuart Holden finally made his comeback from injury in this game, completing the full 90 minutes to the delight of the Bolton fans and management alike. His return will offer Bolton a little extra in the middle of the park, something that the team has undoubtedly been lacking this season. For this reason his return could be key to Bolton collecting some points over the next few fixtures after what can only be described as a disappointing start to the season, after some shrewd work in the transfer window.
Some sections of the media and fans feel, however, that despite Tuesday’s victory Coyle really must consider utilising a five man midfield. Playing with two up front is not easily pulled off in the Premier League, and with Bolton leaking so many goals at the moment, the idea must at the very least be in Coyle’s mind, particularly with the return of Holden increasing his options in the middle.
Gael Kakuta also played the full 90 minutes and pressed for his inclusion in the manager’s starting XI for the league by scoring his first for the club and the team’s second of the night. Kakuta showed that he can offer the manager some variety up front from the usual Davies-Klasnic partnership. After cries for his inclusion many would like to see him play from the off against Arsenal this weekend with the right wing spot seemingly up for grabs, although Chris Eagles, who has occupied that position most this season, did his chances no harm, cutting in from the left and scoring a great right-footed strike which goalkeeper Shay Given could do nothing about.
Bolton must go into the match against Arsenal and try to take confidence from their performance against the Villans. Teams are going into matches against Arsenal right now feeling the Gunners are there for the taking with their leaky defence. For this reason it is imperative that Coyle fields the right attacking combination as Bolton have looked very one dimensional going forward this season. However, a win against Arsenal would lift everybody’s spirits and could get the team onto a decent run of form and results.
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