REPORT: City 4 Bolton 0

SlutskyGrin

I was unduly worried by the visit of Bolton Wanderers. Worried because though they’re newly promoted and under transfer restrictions, it seemed just our luck that City would go into the game with only one fit striker – Diomande. When Leonid Slutsky named the same team that finished at QPR last week, I was worried further. But I say unduly because Bolton were absolutely garbage and City brushed them aside with atypical ease.

City 3-4-3
McGregor
Dawson Hector Mazuch
Aina Meyler Larsson Clark
Bowen Diomande Grosicki

It might have been the same names that finished the game at QPR but it was obvious from the first minute that they’d worked hard at the system. The three centre halves were well spread while Grosicki and Bowen played narrow alongside Diomande and left the channels clear for overlapping full backs. Meyler picked up a yellow card for a late challenge after ten mins and then City took the lead and never looked back. Hector went through one of theirs to win the ball off another and then sprung Grosicki on the counter in a style new England call-up Harry Maguire would be proud of. Grosicki drove past Dervite with ease and poked the ball into Diomande who lashed the ball into the roof of the net [1-0]. He’s the butt of all the jokes but Diomande started well with some honest running in behind and good pressing of their centre halves in possession and got his rewards.

McGregor made a decent save with his right boot from sub Pratley who replaced Karacan (who I think was the victim of the Meyler challenge) and then made a far less convincing save with his shoulder after appearing to misjudge a bounce. If Bolton thought they were coming back into the game, they were wrong. A lightening quick counter saw Diomande hold the ball up, play in Grosicki and he delivered from the left with the outside of his right boot onto the head of Bowen [2-0]. A pair of assists for Grosicki who it appears might be a flat-track bully and the Championship has a lot of flat tracks. The cynical amongst you might be wondering why, with six days left in the transfer window and being the only high value player left at the club from last season, Grosicki was putting on a show. I’ve no idea.

If anyone was watching Grosicki, the best was still to come as he received the ball in their half, murdered Dervite for pace again, cut inside and slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner [3-0]. This report can skip on 60 minutes now because that was game over. Bolton, who are as poor a side as we’re likely to see this season, surrendered and made it their mission to escape with just a three-nil defeat. Phil Parkinson must hate the KC(OM) Stadium. City didn’t exactly bust a gut to try and add to the score content to stroke the ball around and take the occasional counter. Mazuch had a decent game on his home debut with good use of the ball and a couple of nice interceptions. Meyler and Larsson in front had fine games too. Larsson showed an ability to make a forward pass that we often lack while Meyler took great responsibility for organising around the middle and passed the ball simply and effectively. It was a mature showing from two of the few experienced pros we’ve got – once Meyler had killed on of theirs like.

Grosicki should have made another chance for Diomande but delayed his pass and the Norwegian was offside by the time it eventually came. Bowen forced a save with a decent shot from distance and then a defender took one off Diomande’s head with the goal begging after McGregor had launched a quick counter and Aina surged 80 yards down the pitch before delivering a near-perfect cross.

The second half was a non-event. Bolton had eleven behind the ball for the most part and City weren’t open to taking risks to try and break them down. Some in the crowd got frustrated but I enjoyed watching us pass the ball around hapless opposition while Hector rehearsed pushing into midfield to make an extra-man when we had the ball and Seb Larsson practiced his diagonal balls from deep positions. A Bolton fan got fed up of watching his team be rubbish and got himself thrown out of the North Stand. City announced a 16,000+ crowd (but only on Twitter) of which about 3,000 came dressed as black seats. There was plenty of anti-Allam feeling expressed by the fans who were there. It didn’t put the players off to the best of my knowledge.

Left back Stephen Kingsley made a Hull City debut for the last quarter of an hour replacing Max Clark and midfielder Jon Toral followed suit, on for David Meyler. Our last sub provided some unintentional comedy as the board went up for number seven and Seb Larsson, who wore that number at Sunderland, jogged off applauding the crowd’s standing ovation only to be told when he got to the touchline that Kamil Grosicki is number seven here. Sorry Seb.

James Weir came on and provided a little bit of impetus for City to finish the game strongly. McGregor made a routine save at his near post from Armstrong and within a minute, Jarrod Bowen had bagged his fourth goal of the season. He made a lovely run in behind the defence and was found by Diomande with a beautiful through ball. Bowen stayed calm and finished like Andy Payton in his pomp [4-0]. He’s the real deal this kid. With the formation allowing he and Grosicki to be lazy without harming the team, they were just far, far too good for Bolton.

It’s hard work this first month of the season after relegation. Every defeat feels like a disaster. Signings can never be made quick enough. Every player leaving is a crisis and every player performing well is potentially the next one to go. From out of the darkness of two successive league defeats, a new day dawns and it’s showing promise. There are players arriving to fill the threadbare squad. Most a good age and of sufficient quality to improve. We’re not building a side that will walk through the Championship but one that with a bit of luck and steady improvement should be closer to the top than the bottom.

There may still be one big “crisis” to overcome though. Grosicki is the only player left who I was certain back in June would be sold. He divides opinion, mainly due to his attitude, but there’s no doubt that he has pace that will terrify teams in this division. He might just have come good at the right time for him and the wrong one for us.

Rick Skelton (via Tiger Chat)

5 replies
  1. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    The usual excellent report from Rick, he missed out a brilliant tip over from McGregor in the second half from a bullet header, I’ve criticized Mac plenty of times but I thought he was very good last night, took all the high balls with confidence and made some good saves. Yes it was an all round good performance but surely we won’t see many sides as bad as Bolton? Like many others, I’m convinced that Grosicki will be sold to add to Ehaw’s bulging bank balance, if I were Slutsky I would threaten to walk unless the flying Pole is retained, his speed is the key to any chance we have of promotion. He doesn’t defend worth a toss but when he’s trying up front he’s almost unstoppable.

  2. Richard pearson
    Richard pearson says:

    It lifted the gloom but the two B’s (Burton & Bolton) are the worst we’ll see here this season, so don’t get carried away. If the flying Pole goes we’ll have final proof, as if we didn’t already know it, that there’s a plan of destruction in progress and no amount of protest from the likes of us can do snything about it. The next month will reveal much. Thanks for the usual excellent report; better than any other.

  3. MikeB
    MikeB says:

    Nice one. Needed a rebuild.. Cut is, Hides were getting past there best but 45 – 50 million for a defence that let in 60 plus goals… onwards and upwards top 10 forecast now

  4. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Good performance all round and encouraging that a formation that suited the players was adopted. Being a bit more positive…surely the result might aid recruitment…
    On Grotsky…yes, a good player when in the mood, but this is not a league where you can carry passengers! One reason why I wasn’t too upset at Clucas going, as he didn’t seem up for it to me. If his knees are OK, the Arsenal recruit looks a good player! Also it’s been said that Grotty can go if his fee is matched…gentleman’s agreement. He’s also been told that he needs regular football for his international place …reportedly. Bench warming in the PL may not do that. At the end of the day, if he goes, he goes, but I wouldn’t put this one all on Ehab… Just hope we have a quick winger lined up!
    What happens in the next few days may decide where City finish this season. Should be more ins than outs!! From what bits of the opposition teams I’ve seen, there is every chance of a high finish, if we get the transfer week right…
    Strikers…saw highlights Peterborough v Rotherham a bit back. Marriot? for Peterbro and the big lad upfront for Rotherham looked to be possibles, while Andrew Cole’s son at Fleetwood…first home of Vardy?… looks to have potential. Harder to spot defenders, but a young Dawson/Maguire replacement would be a good signing IMO.

  5. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    Looks as if City are going to sign Noah Dicko from Wolves, he took his goal against us well and could be a very good signing, if he can knock in 15 goals this season we won’t miss Hernandez too much. Grosicki is a luxury player and he’ll definitely be a bench warmer/impact sub in the PL, especially with his no tackle ethos but if he stays and has his head on right he’ll be a match winner in the Championship with his blazing speed. If he leaves then Slutsky had better have a decent winger to replace him. All in all it’s looking better than it did a few weeks ago but we still need a few decent additions to the squad.

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