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The Beautiful Game ?


Next up; Fat Sam’s Wimbledon tribute act.

Slightly harsh I thought (the saying was borrowed from a message board) as a description for the current Bolton team that has achieved a fair bit of success in the last season or two, European Football and a Cup Final.

The criticism is therefore aimed at the ‘direct’ style of play favoured by Alladyce , now I have to admit as a season ticket holder I wasn’t thrilled to see his name strongly linked with managing our club, but, I was even more shocked to see the critiscm he has been taking on the Bolton message boards. One comment went along the lines of ‘not been able to take us on to the next level’ ?? Champions League ? 1st or 2nd in the league ? FA Cup winners?

The truth is the paint by numbers football favoured by Big Sam ; long throws, drilled set pieces, big fella up top , flick on’s , 2 solid banks of 4 (or one of 4 one of 5) is only ever going to get you so far. And Bolton have pretty much reached the summit of where they can expect to go.

Curious then that in the weekend papers 2 story’s really stood out. The first was a direct quote from Arsene Wenger ‘there is a trend to play less attractive in England; teams are copying the more cautious European approach. I am very concerned that, even at home, teams are not trying to play.’
Mainly aimed at Chelsea but more of that in a bit.

The 2nd I have paraphrased from David James ‘our success is due to a team ethic now , not relying on individual brilliance of SWP or Anelka’

So have we joined the paint by numbers brigade ? our success has certainly been built on a strong back 5, and the midfield has been a ‘creative void’ since the departure of Ali & Eyal , but , I do believe we at least try and play with some attacking instincts in certain games we will have to defend or get slaughtered but that’s probably only 3 teams , the rest of the time we do try and be positive.

So the question is play ugly and get a result ? or play pretty and risk a hiding ?
The cold hard facts are that Liverpool are European Cup champions and Greece wont the Euro championships , both based on a solid defence and the no-superstar ethic (Steven Gerrard apart) Chelsea won the league and look unstoppable this year based on a pragmatic approach that made them impossible to break down , they do however have the luxury of individual brilliance in abundance so probably have the perfect mix.

People cheer winning football , at least thats what they used to say … Crowds at Bolton have been historically low , Chelsea are down on last season ! another exponent of the ultra defensive approach Boro have also historically struggled.

So the conclusion is a defensive approach will win you things , but nobody will be there to see it ? eh ?