My my, what a day….
While Liverpool vs Sheffield United took the honours for the most unexpected result of the day, watching Bolton put 2 past Tottenham and then shut down shop for the next 75 minutes was an education in how NOT to put your foot in your mouth.
The first goal was harsh on Tottenham, considering how Davenport was being pulled back leaving Davies unmarked to make the header. The second goal was not too much of Robinson’s fault, although you would have expected a top-notch keeper to make that save. Robinson didn’t have a completely bad game though as he made a couple of good saves in the match.
But at the end of the day, Tottenham could not break down Bolton’s defences. Spurs fans will point to the absence of Robbie Keane, and – god forbid – the loss of Michael Carrick, but when push came to shove Tottenham couldn’t make the step up that they needed to.
Bolton won 2-0, and while their tactics may not be too popular, they get results and once they were 2 goals ahead, they could sit back and strangle Tottenham whenever they got into Bolton’s half.
Davenport is pulled down (what was the ref doing?) leaving Davies unmarked to head the ball in
Quinton Fortune had a good game – he doesn’t have the pace to catch Lennon but he showed the never-say-die attitude that helped him win a first team place at Manchester United, He’s not technically gifted but is extremely hard-working, and it showed once Bolton sat back and soaked up the pressure.
Berbatov looked good as well – I do believe that this guy will score a lot of goals but he needs to add a physical bite to his technical skills to be really effective. One of the best signings of the summer, for sure. Aaron Lennon will keep on improving, but he needs space to play and unless he’s given the ball early and often he’s not going to do much. Meite was arguably one of Bolton’s best performers today and looks to be an excellent signing for them.
The surprising thing about this match was how big a role Davids was playing in the midfield (at the expense of Zokora and Jenas, who looked incapable of handling Bolton’s physical approach). Unless Tottenham can bring in a hardman to succeed Davids they will struggle when he is injured or when he leaves. Playing him on the left is not an ideal position – but he is good enough to play anywhere and Tottenham will miss him when he goes.
Jenas vs Nolan
I’ve campaigned for Kevin Nolan to be given a chance in the England setup but he had little to do except break up play. What he does bring to any side that he is a part of is a physical presence and considering that he is a very talented footballer as well the combination makes him ideal for being poached next season. How long will Nolan suffer being part of unglamourous, mid-table Bolton?
Jenas will have better days than this for Tottenham, but he has done little to convince anyone that he deserves his place in the England setup at the expense of Scott Parker and Kevin Nolan.
So…I know it’s still the first day, but who thinks Tottenham will break into the top four this season? Raise your hands…
On a plus note, Chelsea and Manchester United are still to play – more slipups? Highly unlikely, although seeing Arsenal and Liverpool struggle today anything’s possible. Just not bloodly likely.