1. Where Are The UN When You Need Them?
Games like this should be illegal. I'm pretty sure that having 4 minutes of injury time at the end of a match this soporifically tedious is a contravention of my human rights.
The fact that Bolton snatched an equaliser in the last 30 seconds is actually irrelevant to the above statement. This was the worst game of Premier League football that I have seen in years, with the sole factor differentiating it from a Sunday League game being that the players all had matching numbers on their shorts and shirts.
This review is going to be ultra short as a tribute to the ultra awfulness of the fare on display.
2. The Diamond In The Slurry
The one moment of actual skill demonstrated by one of the 22 "footballers" on display came from the unlikely source of George McCartney's right boot. With a first half corner ping ponging around in the box our left back produced a truly marvellous scissor kick to rocket in a moderately deserved opener.
This was also welcome as it gave me the chance to jump up and down and get warm. One has to look for silver linings.
3. The Statistics
We "dominated" the game in the sense that we were slightly less awful than Bolton. This is partly because Bolton were lacking their only decent player, Nicolas Anelka, and because we have around 212 players on the injury list.
We enjoyed 53% of the ball, converting this to 10 shots at goal. Weirdly Bolton mustered 12, despite being about as creative as a large piece of marzipan. They did hit the woodwork twice I suppose, which is reason enough to suggest that their equaliser wasn't that undeserved, although it was just about the last thing that we deserved as fans given that we'd already been forced to pay to watch the crap.
4. The Opposition
I hate Bolton. They are, by a distance, the least watchable team in the Premiership and the addition of Gary Megson as their manager doesn't help. He has always viewed passing and moving as unnecessarily high falutin' antics that simply get in the way of all the kicking and rushing that could be going on otherwise.
The above being true, they didn't deserve to lose this game, and snatched a deserved equaliser when Kevin Nolan popped up in the last minute of injury time with a neat finish. I have simply no idea where our back four were at this point.
5. Ambition? Not Round Here Mate
4-5-1 at home to Bolton? Alright, 4-4-1 with Luis Boa Morte wandering around aimlessly is space, but whatever - it smacks of playing for a 1-0 win. Now, given that we were only 9 seconds away from that very result, maybe it's being picky, but the sight of Henri Camara waiting on the bench whilst we failed dismally to create anything was fairly galling.
Now, Camara is hardly the second coming of Ferenc Puskas but he is a real live striker with intact hamstrings and the ability to run. He is also not a Portugese winger whose name means "£5 million? Jesus Christ!" in his native tongue.
Our stultifying run of form at home continues though, as we are really only set up to play away from home these days. Our lack of creativity is glaring, whilst our midfield at the final whistle was Solano, Etherington, Paintsil and Spector, which probably gives a little hint as to why we were so gloriously inept for most of the second period.
I can live with drawing at home to Bolton. It's a poor result in the context of their current form, but that's the malleable nature of football. My problem is more that it was our own crippling lack of ambition that beat us this weekend.
Well, that and some appalling defending, but hey, who's counting....
I can write no more about this. Be gone from my memory. Let us look forward to our trip to Derby with excitement and fervor.
A sentence never before written......