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Bolton Wanderers: Mostly A Rant About Pratley

Bolton Wanderers: Mostly A Rant About Pratley
Evening all. Quentin is away for the next few days, so you've got me for the rest of the week.

There's been a lot of talk about last night's result, but I can sum up how it made me feel in three words: bored but pleased. For my extended opinion, please continue to read beyond this sentence.

We managed to draw against one of the more consistent performers in our league just three days after beating the top of the pile, keeping one clean sheet and only conceding one goal in two games in the process. How are we not satisfied after that?

I firmly believe that we would have got nothing out of either game had Owen Coyle still been in charge. We certainly would have conceded more, as the defence has radically improved throughout Jimmy's temporary tenure and the start of Dougie's reign. Zat Knight is playing as well as he did in late 2010, which is something I thought would never happen again. Mark Davies has also finally started to shine and look somewhat like the player that he has to the people outside of the Bolton bubble.

So there are the positives. And they are big positives. But, and this isn't a huge criticism of the marvellous job I think our new manager is doing, last night was so boring. It was dark and freezing and I had waited all day for the buzz of a football game. Well, you can't play scintillating stuff every week, and what we did worked a treat.

I do, however, have a little proper piece of criticism. It should not take Dougie Freedman much longer to realise that Darren Pratley contributes absolutely nothing to our game. There are not many footballers that I have seen play for the club that are worse than Dazza Prazza (as Quentin would say but I'm not sure I am legally allowed to). Maybe Ariza Makakula, Mr Rasiak, and Monsieur Cid.

People can argue all they want about how hard he works for the team. Like that even matters. If I was playing for the club, I'm certain they wouldn't be saying that, even if I was running through brick walls and wishing I hadn't been to Greggs for lunch. They would talk about how I attacked, how I defended, and all the bits in between.

Pratley couldn't get onto many of SKD's flick ons, of which there was plenty. He never made the sort of attacking presence you would hope for from a man in his position behind the striker, and didn't remotely look like creating a chance for his teammates. He didn't win headers, couldn't control the ball quickly, and couldn't pass accurately or with any sort of conviction. He was regularly outmuscled in the middle of the park, and often went clumsily into challenges. This earned him a yellow card and I was very surprised when he didn't get a second.

When Petrov came on for him on Saturday, and Eagles moved centrally, it opened up our attacking play and allowed us to win the game. So when Dazza remained on the pitch when the Bulgarian was ready to come on last night, I was thoroughly confused. I really hope that Dougie has now seen enough of the man to decide that his best position is on the transfer list. I fear not, but have faith in our manager to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the club.

Right, rant about Pratley over, please feel free to type the backlash below!

Date:Wednesday November 7 2012
Time: 8:49PM


Exactly what I was thinking with Praterz. Shouldn't be starting and was very lucky to still be on the Pitch.
07/11/2012 20:56:00
agree with the articles sentiments, deadwood needs to be identified and removed " if your not the solution your the problem " Kevin Davies falls in this catagory - flick ons are not goals, last time I checked goals win games, flick on all night long - why? just give the ball to the opposition and cut out the middleman. Until we have strikers delivering the end result to attacks, i.e. scoring, the atacks themselves are futile. would you use a pen with no ink in it ?, drive a car without petrol, get the drift, sure I remember the last time KD ran past 2 defenders and hit a 25 yard rocket into the top corner, or outjumped defenders to head corners in just for the hell of it - let me see, was it 2 years ago ??some players survive on what they used to be capable of in the hope they still might have a few sparks left, others simply abuse that priviledge.
aussie mike
07/11/2012 21:28:00
Could not agree more. Pratley is a long way down on our list of midfielders so cant see why he isstarting games. We have at least half a dozen players who should be getting a start ahead of him. Andyes the transfer list is surely his best position...has been for a couple of years. As for up front...we need to score some bloody goals. SKD is not going to do it. Ngog looked like a proper striker against Cardiff. Have not seen much from Afobe and nobody has actually seen Sordell at all. Time the latter was given some game time so he can harness his pent up anger in the Wanderers cause. Mind you at least we have at last kept a clean sheet and Bogdan had a good game.
07/11/2012 23:30:00
Pratley was bad against Leicester, but as (I think) I mentioned after the Cardiff match, Andrews was worse by a long way. In the first half, he attempted five forward passes. Three of them failed and one was a wild header that went out of play, when he could've brought it down and played a simple ball. He is currently my least favourite player, and that's saying something. I too hope that Freedman can see those who aren't good enough and will get rid of them. I doubt it, though, because he's kept Spearing on the bench and didn't use Petrov correctly when he came off the bench. As for the match, it was better than under OC (writing his name gives me shivers), but there is certainly room for improvement.
08/11/2012 10:14:00
I was watching our 3-1 win over Arsenal, in which Nicolas Anelka scored his first two goals for the club. I feel it's worth noting that whenever it was played long to Big Kev, Diouf and Anelka were, without fail, behind him to pick up the flick on. Whilst Kev is certainly not the player he was, his failings are exacerbated by nobody being positioned to receive it when he wins the header. I also thought it was worth noting that the majority of the long balls we did play wouldn't be straight up to Kev, they would be played diagonally to the wings (usually by Gary Speed) to Dioufy or Kev, where the space was, to combat Arsenal's packed central midfield. I say this because since Big Sam left, I haven't seen a tactic set up directly to counter the other team's strengths.
08/11/2012 12:39:00
We all know and agree DP is not good enough even at this level, but if we are to highlight his failings then we must also highlight others over the last two games. In my opinion, Mills distribution and selection of pass is terrible and must seriously improve. Andrews read Mills. Mavies still hiding for long periods and cannot defend sufficently to provide adequate protection to the back four. Eagles must be deployed centrally to ensure constant involvement. Petrov / Lee be provided with the ball at every opportunity and support the striker along with Eagles (certainly if it's SKD). If Ngog repeats his cameo on Sat, then he must be first choice in that role. I'm sure the game v the Donkey Lashers will tell us more about how the team structure will evolve over the coming weeks.
08/11/2012 13:14:00
I agree with the critiques of Dazza to the Prazza. He is atrocious. But in a weird way, I understand why Freedman is playing him. Freedman is thinking 'clean sheet' first and 'goals' second. Like someone said after the Cardiff game, Freedman is a counter-puncher tactician. He allows the opposition to get some punches in first before going on the offensive. While this is a risky strategy to adopt, if he's done his homework, as the game goes on, he is more likely to win the game as the opposition tires, runs out of ideas and plays all their hands. While Prazza is extremely unlikely to get you- or contribute- in getting you a goal, he is less likely to be the culprit in conceding a goal to someone like Petrov. So, if it's 0-0 and the opposition is dangerous, like Leicester were, Prazza is unlikely to be sacrificed in a game for a more creative/attacking player to keep the clean sheet. If OC had adopted that simple tactic, we'd have saved around 4 points last year and would still be in the Premier League. Boring? Maybe, but them 5 or 6 points saved throughout the season may prove invaluable at the end of the May.
08/11/2012 13:30:00
some damn good observations made, I take my hat off to you lads. Great comment about the Arsenal tactics, how you need forwards feeding off the flick ons - hence my earlier dig - and really spot on from BWFC75 2 points would have kept us up ! I still get upset with the cruel fate that snatched survival away from us in the last 2 games, especially the West Brom game - they score in the 90th minute and QPR do the same - a sudden 4 point reversal in the last minute - unheard off." Skippy put your trousers back on the vicars at the front door ".
aussie mike
08/11/2012 17:34:00
Dougie has obviously been reading your reports....
08/11/2012 17:44:00
That is a cracking observation bwfc75.
08/11/2012 18:04:00
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