Right, well picking up the baton from Nick below, I thought we’d have a quick look back at our not-so-glorious failure against Bolton in midweek. Having heard Sanchez pledge that we were going to take the Cup competitions seriously, I was hopeful of making it into the last sixteen of the League Cup for the first time in a long while – but Fulham just flattered to deceive again.
It was disheartening to see how a strong side playing against Bolton, who for all their determination remain in the relegation zone and had made eight changes from the weekend, were unable to make inroads. The tactical switch to 4-5-1/4-3-3 (depending on how you look at it) was an unmitigated disaster. Leaving Dempsey up front on his own for the best part of an hour was hardly an inspired move – especially against a couple of tall and tough centre backs. With Healy and Joe on the bench, it was even more odd.
The team selection was surprising, too, especially given the possibility of extra-time ahead of our biggest game of the season. When Healy came on, he made an immediate impact – showing just why he has the potential to be one of the top five signings of the summer in the Premiership (if you don’t believe ask Mark Lawrenson, yes it’s true!). It was one of those true poacher’s goals and reminded me that we’ve got that kind of striker that we’ve been waiting for: the one who’ll put away the simple chance.
Much has been made of the goal-that-never-was and even more infuriatingly the subsequent referees’ directive to allow close offside calls to go the way of the attacking side. But the unhappy truth is that we weren’t good enough to beat Bolton on Wednesday. They played the better football, especially with the likes of Wilhelmsson posing all sorts of problems, and had desire by the bucketload.
Disappointing and hardly the ideal preparation for this afternoon.