Holden Can’t Prevent Bolton Loss

Stuart Holden and Time Howard. U.S. Men's National Team training in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Photo via Newscom

Bolton Wanderers’ dream season hasn’t quite turned into a nightmare, but they do seem to have lost a bit of their magic after losing three of their last four. Their only point in that stretch was a draw against Wigan Athletic. Today, they weren’t able to return to their winning ways against Stoke City, falling 2-0.

Bolton are struggling with absences due to injury and circumstance. In an October victory over Stoke, Bolton’s goalscorers were Ivan Klasnic and Chung-Yong Lee. Both were unavailable today – Klasnic due to injury and Lee the Asian Cup. Bolton did receive one bit of good fortune, as Stuart Holden returned from injury.

But in his first start since the end of December, the American couldn’t do enough to help Bolton earn any points. His 68% passing completion rate was lower than the norm, though he managed to win most of his tackles, only losing aerial challenges (not his strong suit).

by Guardian Chalkboards

But in the two teams’ first encounter, Holden completed almost 90% of his passes and made a number of tackles up the pitch. His struggles to influence the match were partially due to Stoke’s tactics.

Stoke pressed deep into Bolton’s half, and due to a heavy wind Bolton couldn’t relieve pressure through long balls. Bolton then ran into extended periods where they couldn’t get out of their own half.

Bolton needed someone to provide a moment of inspiration. Holden was unable to produce any inviting chances for his teammates. He did place a swerving free kick on target, but for the most part he didn’t place any clever through balls, spreading passes to the wings when the match called for a penetrating forward pass.

Gringos, did you see today’s match on FSC Plus? What did you think of Holden’s performance? Did you detect some rust?

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