Holden and Dempsey Compete in Their Clubs’ Opening Match

Bolton Wanderers' Stuart Holden (R) challenges Fulham's Danny Murphy (L) during their English Premier League soccer match at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, northern England, August 14, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

Bolton 0 – Fulham 0, English Premier League

Though Clint Dempsey has been one of the United States’ most important players for the last four years, he started the match on the bench for Fulham while the less heralded Stuart Holden started at center midfield for Bolton.

Match Summary

Uninspired may be a bit too harsh a term to describe both squads’ efforts, but on the day neither Fulham nor Bolton deserved the full three points. Visiting Fulham, using a 4-4-1-1 in contrast with Bolton’s 4-4-2, displayed the steely defense that last season led them to the Europa League final. As a result, Bolton were unable to penetrate the visitor’s box with any regularity. Additionally, new Fulham manager Mark Hughes didn’t allow his team to fully attack until the last ten minutes of the match, leading to a scarcity of chances.

American Performance

by Guardian Chalkboards

The above chart, courtesy of The Guardian’s website stat service Chalkboard, tracks every Holden and Dempsey pass. As you can see, both had more successful (blue) than failed (red) attempts. Holden, who played considerably more minutes, obviously had more attempts overall.

Dempsey’s efforts were confined to Bolton’s half while Holden clearly ventured all over the field. Also observe that Dempsey handed out most of his service from the middle of the pitch, finding plenty of space behind Bolton’s midfielders but in front of their center backs. In other words, Clint roamed in an area that Holden was ostensibly responsible for. This was not necessarily due to a lack of effort on Holden’s part, as defending that area of the pitch can be troublesome for a squad using a 4-4-2.

In a nice twist, both Americans provided their team’s best shot on goal. In the 79th, Holden ran onto a teammate’s pass and smashed his shot into the near post. Dempsey, just seconds later, forced Bolton’s keeper to make a save after the American created a bit of space for himself. Neither player will be ecstatic about the draw, but both should be pleased by their performance.

Gringos – feel free to share your thoughts about Holden and Dempsey’s efforts.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bradley's Receding Hairline says:

    I didn’t get to see the game, but it looks like Holden had a productive match.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WP Hashcash