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Bolton Wanderers:Today Brighton.Tomorrow....?

Bolton Wanderers:Today Brighton.Tomorrow....?
Afternoon all. As Robin Williams didn`t say in Good Morning, Vietnam, it`s cold and wet. And that ain`t no fun even if you`re with a lady, never mind being in the jungle.

Here are some things I discovered when hardly watching any of Brighton v Bolton at the weekend.

Tim Ream is not a midfielder. We knew that last season. Dougie found it on Saturday.

David N`Gog is not a winger.

Right now, SKD needs to be on the pitch for us to score. No SKD, no goal. It doesn`t matter where on the pitch he is, just as long as he is there.

Zat Knight may have improved but, as I am continually being told on Football Manager, at lot of the players are finding it difficult to motivate themselves whilst he is wearing the armband.

We haven`t lost under the new management. We have won once. This is still a positive.

Just how near to London does Marvin Sordell have to be before he isn`t homesick and can play, or are we waiting for the visit to Watford?

Some people are already against the manager. I find this perplexing.

Having seen both Al-Habsi and Jussi have proper howlers on Saturday, maybe OC did make the right decision in promoting Bogdan.

I don`t know how it`s happened, but we are still as near the play offs as the relegation zone.

Mrs X is fair wetting herself at the prospect of Tranmere playing Bolton next season. (The wheels will come off. Trust me.)

And has anyone see Martin Petrov?

I hate the Championship. If I still lived in London, I might well have tromped off to the south coast on Saturday, Mrs X trailing behind me as long as I booked a hotel room for the weekend. As it was, I no longer do, so didn`t, and spent Saturday watching a play in Liverpool instead. It was quite good. It had that bloke from Corrie in it, the one who owned the factory, did something naughty and was finally done in by his mum who used to be in Duty Free. I still probably got as much insight into the game as the majority. Bloody Championship.

I don`t get the Tim Ream playing in midfield thing. He played there once last season and had a mare. If you are going to play someone in midfield, best to make it a midfielder. As long as it`s not Pratley, who is still, somehow, managing to get starts. I can`t understand the sometime benching of Jay Spearing, a holding midfielder who can actually hold the midfield. Pratley isn`t that man, neither is Ream. This isn`t having a go at Dougie, but if he continues to do it, it will be.

Most seem to agree that when Butterfield has been on the pitch he appears to be able to do something. Spearing and Butterfield for the Blackburn game for me. I may even listen to it.

Up front Afobe seems to have given up the ghost, making the lack of Sordell even more intruguing. The club`s desire to send him out on loan when Afobe is as bad at scoring as Mario Jardel was is mystifying. I know that Sordell is allegedly homesick, but if we have to use a player who is homesick for another five weeks, then use him. It`s the least we can do for him, and vice versa.

I have no issue with not losing, and I understand that Dougie has come into a situation not of his making. But there were some bizarre positional choices on Saturday that seemed to allow Brighton carte blanche to run at us. If he wants to see how certain players play in positions, may I suggest the reserves for that kind of thing. As it is we came away with a lucky point, a situation the manager himself concedes as true. Three months ago, we would have been happier with a last minute goal salvaging a point after being outplayed.

If he is fixing things from the back, with the defence being the major problem, then he needs better fixings, as another game goes by without a clean sheet.

It seems to be the natural answer that you play your best team in their best positions. Obviously the manager sees that differently. We now go into a derby not really knowing where we will stand when the season ends. No one is now contemplating relegation, the spectre of which was looking over our shoulder before the change in manager. At the moment, however, we are a long way from promotion.

And Mrs X is already looking at hospitality at Prenton Park.

I will return, with a Blackburn preview, on Wednesday.
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Writer:Quentin X
Date:Monday November 26 2012
Time: 3:30PM

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They hit the post three times and missed a penny. Shows how lucky we were.
26/11/2012 16:07:00
Quentin - you don't play your best team in their best positions, that was Coyle's philosophy, and as soon as Dougie Freedman came out with this you stated that "the man himself is seeing the virtue of playing players depending on this (the opposition) rather than blindly playing what you consider your best team, regardless of position." Maybe he thought that playing Ream and Pratley in midfield might get a result? Right or wrong, at least he's having a go at changing what hasn't worked at all for 18 months. I haven't seen Petrov, but I suspect his lack of tracking back is to blame for his absence. Afobe and Sordell both seem to exude all the qualities of Ariza Makukula, and we should replace both in January.
26/11/2012 16:41:00
I'm having a breakdown. I don't even know what I'm saying from week to week now....
Quentin X
26/11/2012 16:55:00
The years of watering down of the playing staff is now beginning to show. A real shortage of talent. An unwillingness to blood the academy products - OC unwilling to do it in BPL now we've let half of them go!!!!!! Are they any good or just another smokescreen. The common denominator is "our Phil" - he chose the managers who chose the players who simply cannot perform. I do wholeheartedly support Dougie and what he is trying to do. Options are limited though. Why can't he see DP and ZK are not fit to wear the shirt?
26/11/2012 21:06:00
Good article, although it leaves a lot of questions unanswered...I'm confused. When City played Villa a week or two ago, I knew they would win. Not because Villa are awful, which, by and large, they are, but because City reverted to Toure and Barry holding, Nasri and Silva attacking and Tevez and Aguero up front. As it was, they thrashed them 5-0, the only thrashing City have handed out this season. Because they simply reverted to what won them so many games last season. My point is that if you play your best players in a 'sturdy' formation that they are reasonably comfortable with then no matter who the team is, you will at least compete, something we didn't do against Brighton and most teams last year. Coyle's problem was that he had no idea what players were his best and where they were at their best. Mark Davies is absolutely useless as a deep-lying playmaker; he has neither the passing ability nor the vision. As an attacking midfielder, his dribbling comes into play to open up defences, as against Sheffield Wednesday this season and Liverpool last season. The formation should be built around the players, not the other way around, which is what Coyle did. He refused to budge from 4-4-2, which his players weren't suited to, and we paid the price with relegation. So you do play your best players in their best positions, it's just that Coyle had no clue - idiot that he was - who or what they were. In short, don't play N'Gog on the wing, Ream in midfield and PLAY SPEARING!
26/11/2012 22:44:00
There is alot of talk about what our available best team is at the moment, but what actually is our best team? for me: 4-5-1 Bogdan, Warnock, Knight, Mills, Ricketts - Petrov(on left wing), Butterfield, Davies, Spearing, Eagles(on right wing) - Ngog. If Petrov is having one of his off day Eagles can go left and Chungy can come on. Simple. I would like to get back to playing 2 up top though i think we should pose much more of threat with the type of quad we have. Petrov, Eagles and Lee and excellent at whipping crosses in. If there is only one striker meeting these crosses our scoring opportunities are cut by 50% from the off. Many times already this season i have seen balls get whipped across the opposition box mostly by Petrov and nobody there to meet them. I would also like to see a 4-4-2 formation to see if Sordell can play off Ngog. Should the poor lad get over his 'homesickness'.
27/11/2012 13:10:00
That defence doesn't make pleasant reading. I will even be pleased to see Wheater back. Money must be spent on centre backs as a priority come January. Fact!
27/11/2012 13:14:00
Talk about the rub of the green! How long have we been waiting for a bit of that! There is a 31 min clip on YouTube including the trouble in the away end. What was that all about?
27/11/2012 16:40:00
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