Chelsea continued to heap misery upon Owen Coyle’s side by inflicting a 5-1 away win victory over Bolton Wanderers. Not only did this extend the Trotters’ dismal run of form, but it also condemned them to their worst start to a league season for a staggering 109 years. To add further insult to injury Bolton have now lost six successive Premier League matches, conceding 21 goals in seven fixtures. No one can deny that Bolton are in bad shape, and despite their inconceivably difficult start to the season the Trotters simply must do more.
However, there are a few reasons for Bolton fans to be optimistic. Firstly, in terms of league positions, the fixture list is all downhill from here. Having already played the majority of league title contenders things can only get easier with more winnable fixtures coming up, but there will be nowhere to hide for boss Coyle if his side fail to deliver performances and points.
Bolton were carved apart in the opening half at the Reebok Stadium, although once again there were at least two goals which can be described as self inflicted. These were a result of two goalkeeping howlers by Adam Bogdan, who was selected between the sticks in the place of the unavailable first choice, Jussi Jaaskelainen, whose own form has been far from exemplary. The team trudged in at half-time, 4-0 down, with spirits low and came back out fighting. Although the game was admittedly already won for Chelsea the heads of the Bolton players did not drop. They came out for the second period and put in what was a much improved performance.
The Trotters snatched one back through a headed effort from Dedryck Boyata from a set-piece and the Trotters should have had a second as Kevin Davies’ effort seemingly crossed the line before it was cleared by Bransilav Ivanovic. Cue the goal line technology debate. Chris Eagles also came off the bench and put in a determined performance with some nice touches, however, the same cannot be said for Tuncay who had far from the desired impact.
If Bolton can play like they did in the second 45 for a full 90 minutes then the points will come. Even though the game was already lost an important lesson was learnt, and that is that the spirit at Bolton is not dead and the determination and grit is there to start turning the season around. The first thing that must go is the lack of defensive organisation and simple goalkeeping errors that are just not acceptable. Injuries have been harsh on Bolton this season, but if Coyle can work out his starting XI with the players he has left at his disposal, and get the tactics right, then Bolton are more than able to compete. The players must view their season as beginning now, get themselves fired up and take every opportunity presented with both hands.
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