Coyle’s Conundrum – written by BigRaddy

Having witnessed the destruction of Blackpool who stuck to their manager’s laudable commitment to open, attacking football, will Owen Coyle reconsider his tactics? Would you? Coyle had the difficult task of developing a team who had been managed by two of the men most responsible for the development of anti-football; Fat Sam and Gary Megson. It is to Coyle’s credit that Bolton have flourished. At the time of his takeover Bolton had won 4 from 18 fixtures and looked doomed, yet Coyle took them to 14th spot, and he did so with a determination to play a more expansive game.  It is a testament to Owen Coyle that Mr.Wenger chose Bolton for Wilshere’s development.

However, whilst appreciating Coyle’s achievement, Bolton remain a club who can “dish it out” (are dirty), they have players who “like a tackle” (are dirty) and have “fighting spirit” (are dirty). They employ the player who has committed the most fouls in the PL for 5 out of the last 7 seasons  – stand up Kevin Davies, a proud record and one not easily achieved!!

Some stats:

Bolton have yet to win at Arsenal in the Premiership.

Arsenal have won their last 8 games against Bolton

Arsenal have not conceded a goal in their last 5 home games.

Bolton have failed to score in 8 out of their last 11 away PL games.

Arsenal have scored in the last 20 minutes in 15 of their last 16 games at the Emirates.

Bolton have not won at Arsenal since 1962 – the year after THFC won the League in B & W!

………  Happy reading for an Arsenal fan.

My team would be:


Sagna  Squillaci  Kos  Clichy

Diaby Song Fab Rosicky

Chamakh Arshavin

However, I expect to keep up my 100% record of team prediction failure.

Bolton have problems of their own, missing Jaaskalinen and Klasnic.

Bolton are never an easy team for us despite our outstanding record.  In our last home game back in January, we went 2 goals down in the first half hour. It was the game when Gallas stamped on Davies in the move leading up to our second goal in a 4-2 win …. seems an age ago.

In 1916 Bolton was subjected to one of the World’s first air raids. A German Zeppelin air balloon floated over Bolton and dropped 21 bombs, killing 13 and destroying many buildings.

I will be interested to see whether Coyle continues with the passing game at the Emirates or reverts to the long ball game. Despite his well documented admiration of Wengerball I suspect the latter.

Can we win? Yes. Will we win? Of course.

58 Responses to Coyle’s Conundrum – written by BigRaddy

  1. Red Arse says:

    Well done Big Raddy, good review summary and another nice piece of history.

    Don’t know what to say about your prediction though if it’s always wrong! 🙂

  2. Song's Hair says:

    dude, what’s with the 4-4-2 lol.

  3. ArseChicago says:

    Didn’t Arshavin play 2 matches this week already? At least that’s what I read. If that’s the case, I still think we play with the lone Chamakh up front, Wilshire on the right, Cesc, Rosicky on the left. Song / Diaby, and then our back 4. Wouldn’t mind seeing Gibbs get a start today on the left side. I think Jackie gets a goal today. Up the Arse!

  4. kelsey says:

    No lone striker up front, please.If AA has played two matches this week he needs a gallon of Red Bull to keep him going, but then on the other hand he doesn’t burn up that much energy.

    Nice article Raddy, I presume a rookie keeper usually has a blinder against us, so let’s hope today is the exception.

    What part of bolton where you living in BR in 1916 🙂

  5. Big Raddy says:

    RA. It is my team prediction that is always wrong, not the results (so far)

    AC. In that case, I would give Vela a start…

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey The posh part which is why we never met ….

  7. kelsey says:

    Bolton has a posh part 🙂

  8. thefreelancer says:

    Hey there,

    Just wanted to say that Bolton beat Arsenal in the FACup in 1993 (ish) at your ground. But the stats look frightening as a Bolton fan.

    Another thing. I fully expect Coyle to continue his game at the Emirates. His game being far from the passing style we had hoped for. He will stick Davies up front, possibly Elmander too. Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson will all punt the ball long toward Davies in hope of “the flick on”. The keeper will do it too.

    Arsenal to win. Unfortunately.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks for your comment and the correction Freelancer. I only checked the PL ….. silly really because I was there to witness our defeat!

  10. Red Arse says:

    Almunia, Ebooe, Gibbs, Koss, Squidgy, Fabbers, Mozart, Jack Boy, Cham.

    Denilson, Vela, Flappy, Diaby, Sami all on the bench.

  11. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, forgot Song and AA both playing.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting team . Both FB’s replaced, but no place for Vela.

    Come on you Gunners

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Tremendous last 5 minutes at Everton … I would love to be in the MU dressing room

  14. tommystout says:

    Gutted Braddy, i switched off when manu went 3.1
    how funny

  15. tommystout says:

    is it me or is it my stream but this seems very much like a 6 a side kinda game!

  16. tommystout says:

    hope none of these misses are going to be costly

  17. Big Raddy says:

    I thought we had got rid of stupid mistakes like that half. Theo would have buried at least two of AA’s chances.

    And their goal was total pants. Dreadful from Kos.

  18. kelsey says:


    i have got an official stream and it is jerking all over the place.

    RASP, impossible to do a match report as i am missing all the play,even the goal was not on camera. sorry.

  19. kelsey says:

    i only have audio commentary, but i would bring diaby on and take wilshere off, and bring arshavin in more central with vela on the wing for someone.

  20. tommystout says:

    how many times has AA been offside now, hes getting in to adebarndoor territory here

  21. tommystout says:

    we should have signed there reserve GK, he’s having a blinder

  22. kelsey says:

    thyanks for listening to me arsene about the subs 🙂

  23. tommystout says:

    kevin davies should be off for that

  24. kelsey says:

    you wouldn’t think by the commentry that stewart robson played for arsenal.

  25. kelsey says:

    it’s war, i was hoping to see a game of football

  26. tommystout says:

    at least you got commentry kelsey, im watching an arsenal steam with spuds commentry

  27. tommystout says:

    now thats how to time a run mr vela, take a bow

  28. kelsey says:

    Apparently,song man of the match.

    I can only go on the commentators comments and a jerky screen.Not our most fluent performance by any means,but the defence looked pretty good in the first half especially in the air.

    Is that 3 games out of 4 that the opposition has had a player sent off.
    A true physical test,and one could sense that the players are not yet on full throttle, yet who would have expected so many enforced changes in the side,after so few games.and that is a good enough excuse for me.

    verdict: good result against a very physical team,yet on a good day we could have had 7 goals. I am happy.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Very happy with that. Silly sending off, and we should have had at least two penalties.

    The Vela goal was absolutely brilliant – masterclass in passing and finishing. We must have had 20+ passes before the brilliant ball from Cesc.

    Davies should have gone and perhaps the Chaill sending off was to too tough.

    We were good – Bolton were dirty (see above post) and we have DOUBLE the points of the Spuds. Even Blackpool have 2 more points!!


  30. London says:

    Hands up all those Arsenal supporters that walked away when mancs went 3-1 up only to miss the come back…, guilty.

  31. ArseChicago says:

    I rolled into the pub with a few mins left in the United match and proceeded to see both Everton goals. Knew it was going to be a good day. Our squad did as much as it had to do to get the 3 pts. Arshavin should’ve had at least one goal. Cesc had some nice passes, as did Rosicky (we were really trying some lengthy ones, yeah?). Davies should’ve been sent off, not Cahill. Cahill should’ve only gotten yellow on that one. Definitely a headscratcher, but again, Davies should’ve gotten a second yellow anyway. Not going to focus too much on Koscielny’s error (Gibbs could’ve done a better job defending that header as well); just be happy he’s learning in these matches. I like that guy, Lee, on Bolton btw. He’ll be in a big club pretty soon, methinks.

  32. Mayank says:

    lol London, me too. Nothing worse than seeing SAF gloat post-match.
    Thoughts on Kos and Sqil?

  33. Big Raddy says:

    On reflection, the referee was very poor today, particularly in the second half. The dreadful tackle on Diaby did not earn the miscreant a card. Bolton were out to injure our players and they succeeded.

    It was a very disappointing performance by both Bolton and the ref.

    A huge positive was that we showed yet again we will not be kicked out of our passing game. This team is growing.

  34. London says:


    I am trying to write a match report, I will touch on those two.

  35. Mayank says:

    CHeers London, will check it out tomorrow.

    Spot on BR, we should’ve got at least 2 pens.

  36. kelsey says:

    Davies should have seen red, not sure about cahill.

    London I am pleased you are doing the match report as I don’t like to let anyone down,but as explained above the stream was pants.

    Mozart may have written the music but Fabregas conducted the orchestra today. 🙂

  37. London says:

    I wish I had thought of that line… should have saved it.

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi all,

    Back from the game. Thanks London, it woud be great if you could write a match report.

    Some great performances from our players today – only one was really poor???

    Still I won’t discuss it now, I’ll save my thoughts until tomorrow. 4 games, 10 points …. happy days 🙂

  39. charybdis1966 says:

    Hello Raspers, did you know ole bacon face junior not only threw away a 3-1 lead, like bacon face senior, but his team went on to lose the game 4-3.

    There’ll be an atmosphere in the Fergie household tonight !

  40. Don’t worry London, you can nick it anyway he won’t mind. Nice to meet you at last 😉

  41. Anyone want to know what Rasp texted me after the Bolton goal ………. b%^*&92griqfv&hbing Almunia

    Hi chary – you and Rasp need to write a post together methinks

  42. charybdis1966 says:

    A sort of opposing views type of combined effort, eh Peachy ?

  43. 26may1989 says:

    That was my first game at Ashburton this season, great to be back, and fantastic to see the beloved clock up. The mystery is why the club didn’t do it in the first place.

    I’ll reflect a little on the performance in a mo, but I have to start with the referee’s performance. Others have already commented, but I honestly think Stuart Attwell’s performance today has to go down as one of the worst refereeing performances. When you have the fans of a team winning 4-1 shouting “You don’t know what you’re doing”, and when both sets of players complain at the final whistle, the FA should know there’s a real problem.

    As well as the obvious (Cahill shouldn’t have been red-carded, and play should have been allowed to continue since we were on the break; and Kevin Davies deserved at least four yellow cards and one red), Attwell managed some spectacular errors. For example, he played an advantage when one of our players was fouled in the D and the ball ran BACK almost to the centre circle. Just how can that possibly be an advantage?? The truth is Attwell completely lost control, probably from the moment he bizarrely booked Gibbs. Sending off Cahill looked like the action of a man in a state of panic – he had lost it by then.

    This time, it caused us little damage, other than Diaby getting an injury (Attwell didn’t see the foul that time either) and Koscielny getting a headache when he was charged by Davies (no card, how??). But how can the PL afford to have a referee on the books who is that far off being competent? We have some very poor referees in this country but that was a truly shitty performance, I just hope we don’t see him refereeing a more significant game for us.

    Having briefly checked newsnow, I saw that Phil Thompson has been criticising Attwell. I thought that, for once, I would actually agree with one of football’s stupidest pundits. But I was relieved to see that Big Phil managed to get it wrong and spout his usual load of nonsense. Of course Bolton suffered at the hands of Attwell but the real point is that so did Arsenal – Attwell’s incompetence was indiscriminate. But Big Phil, who plainly detests us, was unable to see that, and prefers to characterise it as an anti-Bolton thing. Oh well, there’s a shock.

    As for the football, I thought it was good – we had to work hard but our ability won through in the end, as is often the way in these games. Song was superb, Squillaci and Koscileny impressively physical and tight (bar Kos’s error for the goal), Rosicky and Chamakh industrious, Wilshere slick, and Eboue and Gibbs decent. Fabregas looked off the pace for much of the first half but warmed up and finished with three assists. Arshavin was wasteful in terms of missed chances but was getting in the right positions and got an assist. Almunia’s only error was a screwed up kick that came to nothing, he was fine other than that. Vela and Denilson were fine too.

    Bolton were ok – there was a bit of the physical stuff, but it didn’t look an out and out policy, more a case of players being over-stretched and being desperate. Lee was their danger man and it was no surprise to see him punce on our error and set up their goal. And Bogdan, their sub goalie, did a very decent job.

    Am really looking forward to getting back there for Wednesday’s CL game…..

  44. Definitely not opposing views chary

  45. Rasp says:


    I think we’ll be in perfect agreement 😉

    Hi 26m,

    I thought Almunia was decidedly dodgy thoughout. He came runnng way out of his box to take a kick that should have been left to the defender who was closest and then proceeded to kick it back across his own (unguarded) goal where a defender had to hurriedly clear as the opposing forwards were closing him down. Appalling goalkeeping by anyone’s standards. He sold himself short for the goal and again left the opposing striker with an open goal to exploit.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Rasp. I’d forgotten about the kick across his goal, that was terrible. But I really don’t think Almunia did anything wrong for the goal – he was in the right place before Koscielny headed the ball, then he came out to cover that error, and then he went back towards his goal when Lee went to the goal-line. I’ll have another look on MotD but I saw the goal as being Lee and Elamnder exploiting Koscielny’s error clincally.

    Don’t get me wrong though, Almunia did little that was good, I just don’t pin the goal on him.

  47. Rasp says:

    I was sitting right behind the goal and watched Almunia closely. Can anyone explain why he always delivers his long kicks into open space? He rarely tries to pick out one of our strikers. The bolton keeper, who admittedly had Kevin Davies to aim for, was far more effective in his distribution. Almunia bounced off our won defender when he was scrambling back to try to stop their goal. He is just plain weak. I believe we will go in for Schwarzer again in January and if he still hasn’t played for Fulham, they will probably let him go. I just hope Almunia hasn’t lost us too many points by then.

  48. charybdis1966 says:

    Oh right Raspers – I’m a very lazy blogger nowadays though. I had an anti talk-sport post idea bubbling but am too dam lazy to get on with it.
    BTW Shwarzer played for Fulham today.

  49. charybdis1966 says:

    But by way of distraction here’s a good tribute band effort to get those heads nodding.

  50. For those who didn’t go today, they’ve really cranked up the sound in the stadium before the team comes out and they don’t come out to The Wonder of You.

    They must’ve read our post a few weeks ago afterall.

  51. charybdis1966 says:

    Is it “Right here, right now” as the teams come out Peachy ?

    Did you like the metallica tribute band youtube above BTW ?

    Play a track like that and the crowd will be whipped up into a frenzy, hopefully.

  52. London says:

    Report written, in drafts but I can’t think of a title, Rasp any ideas?

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks London, I’ll have a look and see what I can come up with.

  54. 26may1989 says:

    Me again Rasp. Just watched that goal again, and I stick by what I said: Almunia had to come out initially because he couldn’t know whether Lee was about to shoot (if he had and Almunia had been planted on his line, we would have been slagging him off). Lee was then pushed out wide but Almunia still needed to be pressing him – while I can see some scope for criticising Almunia in that phase for being a little bit further away from his goal than was ideal, it was marginal. The goal was about our defenders and clincial finishing, not whether Almunia was fractionally too far from his near post.

    I’ve just seen the goal Golden Boy Joe Hart gave to Blackburn – now that is truly horrendous keeping. And Rob Green’s effort against the Chavs wasn’t much better.

  55. kelsey says:


    Having finally seen the game,I think rasp is a little harsh on Almunia.Except for the first minute when he kicked the ball out straight to the opposition,he had a decent game,and one can’t blame him for the goal.

    He will never be the keeper we require,but the defence is and will be stronger especially in the air,and that in itself will compensate somewhat to his misgivings.

    United let in as many goals as us in one game yesterday as we have in 4 matches.

    As a side note “my contact” at Fulham has told my son that Schwarzer literally pleaded to Hughes to let him join us, but as he is under contract,he refused point blank.It was nothing to do with our bid.

  56. kelsey says:

    Here’s another thought.Wenger is always being accused of whinging and that we as a club are a soft touch.Then how come in 3 of our opening 4 games opposition players have been been given a straight red card for either dangerous or violent play.

    We have shown a new spirit in getting stuck in, and obviously we will collect a few yellow cards and when Kos was sent off that was a tad harsh for two yellows of which the second was fairly debatable.

  57. barumgooner says:

    Morning Kelsey. I agree with you. Yesterday was one of my very rare opportunities to go to the game and my first time at the Emirates stadium. Almunia did a few terrible things such as two bad kicks early on and then the free kick across his unguarded goal but I cant fault him for the goal. Kos had an outstanding game imo but he was trying to be clever in heading the ball back and screwed it up. If he had just hit it off or away then Almunia wouldnt have had a problem. Great day and great stadium by the way.

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