Posts tagged ‘N’gog’
When I was young, before my parents introduced me to Burnden Park, my Saturday afternoons were spent at the Regal Cinema on Spa Road (several years later the Regal became the Nevada, where I spent my Saturday nights, but that’s another story).
The highlight of those far off afternoons was the serial, in which Flash Gordon, or one of a variety of cowboys, found himself in a hairy situation; typically, hanging by his finger ends over a deep abyss with the dastardly baddy preparing to stamp on those same finger ends. You can probably see where this image is taking us. In this game against West Brom, our beloved Wanderers were in the same position as my long forgotten heroes.
In the movie, however, our star would grasp the ankle of the villain, throw him into the gaping void, and hoist himself to safety by the strength in his fingers. In the football game, alas, just as we thought we were safe, the world collapsed and we were back in the mire.
“It would be very easy to look for a quick fix and sign ready-made players at 31 or 32 who you are guaranteed to get a good two years or 18 months from, but then you are back to square one”, says Owen Coyle speaking to the Bolton News.
“I have never had that way of doing things. My belief has always been in investing transfer fees on younger players. I rarely, if ever, spend money on a player over 24 years of age.
It has been something of a whirlwind for Bolton Wanderers under the control of Owen Coyle; beating the drop in his first season, drawing the plaudits but fading away in the second, and a wretched dog-fight to avoid relegation in the third.
The results and the style of play are always thrust in to the spotlight, but it’s clear that Owen has been keeping himself busy behind the scenes and has spent considerable time implementing his long term plan to revamp the first team squad and club as a whole.
Well it’s a new year and an opportunity to freshen up our squad during this transfer window. Unfortunately we’ll soon lose the services of Gary Cahill to Chelsea, as long as his wage demands and other personal terms don’t price him out of a move to London.
When we look back to the squad this time last year and compare it to the current crop of players there is undoubtedly a deficit to be found in both quality and pace. The live spark that was Daniel Sturridge has not been replaced, and nor has the tireless and committed direct running of Johan Elmander.
Personally, I feel that the current squad contains far too many incomplete players. Each player seems to be missing one or two of the crucial facets needed to make them the rounded Premier League package. Obviously, all players have strengths and weaknesses, and even the greatest of players can be known by the poor aspects of their play as well as the best, but here I believe that the problem is endemic throughout the squad.
Muamba is one of the most obvious examples of this phenomenon – when someone mentions Muamba to me I think of his powerful athleticism around the pitch and ability to disrupt play, but I’d then have to go on and describe him as one of the worst technical footballers I have ever seen.
The same can be said of our captain, Kevin Davies, his powerful target man play is synonymous with his name, but so too is his dismal finishing and link-up passsing when he has the ball at his feet. I could also add that due to his age his pace has dipped well below what is needed to be competitive at this level.
It’s possible to contrast Muamba with Mark Davies. They are exactly the opposite of each other as players, but that poses a problem again. Whilst he’s excellent on the ball and clearly gifted technical attacking footballer, he is naive defensively and his diminutive size makes him weak in the challenge.
Eagles and Petrov both love to receive an early ball into feet and take on their man, but they play like wingers in the 1950s, their defensive tracking back is practically non-existent and as such they offer no cover to their fullbacks. Additionally, I would say that neither of them have the electric breakaway speed of others in the league that would let you forgo their abysmal defensive contributions.
Robinson and Steinnson are both committed to the Bolton cause, they are fired up and love a tackle, but both have serious positioning issues and are often easily caught out as they tuck in far too early. This is in part due to the lack of cover from their wingers but also because they’re always back peddling to avoid being beaten by their lack of pace.
Ngog and Klasnic are similar to Muamba and Mark Davies; Ngog is fast, skilful and athletic but he struggles to finish or use the ball effectively, and Klasnic is an expert finisher who can’t finish a full-game and offers very little when the team are not in possession.
Until these players start to develop and remedy these alarming deficiencies in their game then we are going to struggle to be competitive. Both Holden and Lee are rounded top-level professionals in their position and their injuries are clearly hurting us. Nigel Reo-Coker goes some way to show the benefits of having these more complete players – there is very little ‘special’ about his game but he is equal to the physical demands of the Premier League and he is comfortable on the ball.
The base level of ability in the areas where many of the Bolton players are weak is far too low across the squad. The Premiership has developed into a fast paced, physical and quality football league, and the demands on the players have increased. In the same way that you no longer see players who cannot use their weak foot, those players that cannot demonstrate all of the necessary skills and abilities needed for that position to an acceptable all round level will be phased out either by relegation or non-selection.