Holden Contributes Despite Limited Offensive Production

west ham's mark noble battles with bolton's stuart holden FA Barclays Premiership. West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers. 21.08.10 Photo By Karl Winter Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

A draw against West Bromwich Albion might not seem like much to crow about, but Stuart Holden and Bolton should hold their heads high after managing to keep the score level. West Brom, recently promoted from England’s 2nd division, have been one of the surprises of the season, notably defeating Arsenal 3-2 on Arsenal’s home pitch. Fielding a flexible and entertaining 4-2-3-1 against Bolton, Albion seized 57% of possession and restricted the freedom of Bolton’s 4-4-2.

Still, Bolton did bag the first goal when Johan Elmander sprinted onto Kevin Davies’ perfectly weighted pass (64th). West Brom’s dominance eventually shone through (James Morrison headed in a cross in the 78th), though they couldn’t find a winner.

American Performance

Earlier in the week, Stuart Holden signed a 3-year contract extension with Bolton. Today, he rewarded the club with his most workmanlike performance to date. Despite completing 81% of his passes, the American’s biggest contributions came in defense, as Holden doubled his average of three interceptions per match. Had he not made his 82nd minute interception, a West Brom attacker likely would have been on his way to a one-on-one with the Bolton keeper.

by Guardian Chalkboards

Traditionally the more attack-minded of Bolton’s central midfield pair (Fabrice Muamba is his counterpart), Holden’s defensive performance on the day brought to mind Maurice Edu’s Champions League outings. Like the other young American, Holden, who made more interceptions than any of his teammates, managed to influence the match without providing offensive firepower (his 18 attempted passes was his second lowest total of the season).

US National Team manager Bob Bradley will certainly appreciate Holden’s grit and guile. With Landon Donovan set to miss the upcoming October friendlies, it’s likely that Holden, due to his excellent form and Donovan’s absence, will receive at least one start against either Poland or Colombia.

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