27 November 2010
|Owen Coyle wasn't happy early, but he was happy late as Bolton came back to draw Blackpool 2-2. (Credit Image: © Action Images/ZUMAPRESS.com)|
Bolton have been a joy to watch this season. I know that's not exactly an earth shattering statement, but it can't be emphasized enough. However, the question isn't how much fun their football has been to watch, but how much fight this side now has. The one thing about Bolton that I feel hasn't gotten enough attention this season was their fightback. They don't know when they're down. Against Birmingham City earlier this season, they came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2. And again today, they did the exact same thing.
Today, Bolton should have been done and dusted down 2-0. Blackpool were creating plenty of chances to kill the game off, but failing to put anything on frame. Once Petrov pulled one back with 20 to play, you just knew that Blackpool would wilt again. Bolton's equalizer exemplified the football they have played all season: short passes in and around the 18 with a run from midfield finishing the move. Even with Blackpool camping 8 behind the ball, they couldn't do a thing to stop it. It shouldn't be a surprise though; it was the fifth time that's happened this season.
We all know Blackpool love to attack thanks to Ian Holloway. After being one of the more negative managers tactically, he said screw it with this Blackpool side, and it shows. About the only team who has been more open than Bolton this season has been this Blackpool bunch. With their 90 minute attack like your life depends on it policy, it's been attractive on the eyes, and even pleasant on the points table, but it's also cost them as well.
With quotes like "I believe that playing like that will get us more points than it loses us", it makes me wonder if Blackpool will survive the season. Already in 15 games, Blackpool have dropped 8 points from winning or drawing positions this season (dropping two points in games with Fulham, Everton, and Bolton, while dropping one point in games with Blackburn and Aston Villa). Sure they have 19 points right now, but when they face opponents a second time around, they are not going to have it as easy as they have up until this point. Unless Ian Holloway spends just a little time on defensive lines, Blackpool will end up in the Championship. It would be a pity as we wouldn't get to see the football they play, but they'd only have themselves to blame for not defending better. While it's more realistic they stay up this season, with Blackpool's defending, that's still not a guarantee.
Other thoughts on games I've seen today.
* There was a brief moment of 'here we go again' when Arsenal saw Aston Villa pull one back early to start the second half, but Aston Villa don't have the talent Tottenham do. Even at 3-2, I never felt for a second Villa would come back. While Houllier is still trying to find out which players fit his system, it's just apparent that the team just isn't as strong as they have been over the last couple of years.
* West Ham United looked dead and buried for the better part of the opening half hour in their game against Wigan. However, once they took the lead, it was Wigan that looked devoid of ideas. While this is a nice mental win for West Ham, they have two tough matches to come, traveling to Sunderland and hosting Manchester City. It could quickly be another case of one step forward, three steps back.
* Blackburn Rovers were a joke today. Honestly, Blackburn Rovers would have been turned over by Dover Athletic or York City (non league winners in the FA Cup 2nd Round Proper). Berbatov's five goals maybe forgotten by Monday morning, but he was sensational. While Wayne Rooney didn't have to do much, he did set up Park well for the second goal. What's the most impressive about this result is that it now erases the goal differential Chelsea had.
What are your thoughts on the games on Saturday? Let us know in the comments below.