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Bolton thoughts

A concern going into today's game was our recent record of firing blanks at The Reebok (no goals in our four previous visits), but - in what has been a theme of the season so far - it was problems in defence rather than attack that was to be our undoing.

Team wise Hughes went as I expected - Sylvinho in for Bridge and Bellamy picked ahead of Robinho, but the recently impressive de Jong was replaced by Vincent Kompany.

If Bolton's confidence was low after a recent poor spell it didn't show. They were the better side early on, winning the physical battle (as expected) but also looking far brighter and having more impetus going forward.

However, in terms of possession over the ninety minutes we dominated the game and some of our play going forward was impressive. Carlos Tevez in particular shone. His work rate was rewarded with two goals, his second a particularly smart finish to earn the point.

The frustration was that each time we hauled ourselves back into the game we made things hard by again conceding and in some ways, the battling elements of our play today (equalising three times) and a poor display from the officials (both the Bolton opener and the Bellamy sending off were howlers) overshadowed the fact that in many areas we were not good enough. Yes, it was another without defeat but with results elsewhere it is another opportunity gone and familiar failings were present.

Individually, the defenders played fairly well but as a unit they didn't look cohesive and allowed a Bolton side - not known for their attacking prowess - far too much time and space, evident on their first and last goal. The growing importance of Nigel de Jong to the side was also evident today by his absence.

Yet again it then leaves us talking about the same problems, the same concerns and the same missed opportunities. The table shows that the constant draws - whilst preserving an unbeaten streak - are as damaging to our hopes of penetrating the top four as the defeats sides around have experienced.

The midweek trip to Tottenham now takes on a greater resonance - and the need to start picking up three points ever more important.