Bolton Out Of Carabao Cup
Bolton have made their exit from the Carabao Cup after a 3-0 loss at West Ham last night.
With both teams at the wrong end of their respective leagues, and big games coming this weekend, changes were made by home and away managers alike. Slaven Bilic still managed to name a starting eleven that fused regulars with two youngsters in Declan Rice and Sead Haksabanovic, while Phil Parkinson rotated too, giving Jeff King a first senior appearance, and including Jake Turner, Harry Brockbank, Ryan White and Jack Earing on the bench.
While it was a different team, it was a painfully similar start for Wanderers. The Hammers got a free kick early on, with Angelo Ogbonna taking advantage of poor defending to head home the opening goal.
We couldn`t lay a finger on the Premier League side, and Diafra Sakho made it two after being set up by Marko Arnautovic, who pretty much ran the game with his ability.
Bolton offered very little up front, Aaron Wilbraham offered the only shot of the first half, which gave the fans something, just something to sing about. Probably realising we had little to lose, the support was really good and made for a decent atmosphere in the away end at least.
Mark Beevers did manage a header on target, and as West Ham relaxed a bit, we got more into the game, with Adam Le Fondre getting around up top to try and make something happen, but in injury time Arthur Masuaku scored a stonker from a about 25 yards to cap off the night.
It`s hard what to make of the game. The result on its own isn`t the end of the world. We lost 3-0 to a team much stronger than us, a whole division above us. Was Phil Parkinson playing that team because he genuinely thought it was the best plan to go with, or because he was determined to rest players and give others a chance? Because it was an odd formation, and while it`s pointless to judge him on tonight, playing two left backs and no proper right back (sorry Filipe Morais, but you aren`t a full back), and two in midfield against a much superior team, were all odd decisions.
Make no mistake though, Saturday is the much bigger game. If we win that, last night won`t matter at all. Lose, and I`ll be staying off Twitter for a start.
A few words about the London Stadium by the way: I wouldn`t want to call that home. It`s a wonderful arena and the away end, a lower tier behind the goal, was reasonably close to the pitch. The other sections don`t look so though, and the place is just poorly situated.
Leaving the ground, it must have have taken about 35/40 minutes to get back the Underground station, which would take 15 minutes at the best of times, due to convoluted route set up by those in charge.