Holden Works Right Flank to Help Bolton to a 1-1 Draw

Stuart Holden (10) of the United States (USA) prepares to take a corner kick. The United States (USA) defeated Panama (PAN) 2-1 during a quarterfinal match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on July 18, 2009. Photo via Newscom

In Bolton’s 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic, manager Owen Coyle made an emphasis to push down Wigan’s left flank. On the opposite bench, Roberto Martinez was just as happy to see his side attack Bolton’s right. For Stuart Holden to influence the match, the center midfielder had to favor the right flank more than is usual.

As such, his passing and tackling heat map skews to that side.

by Guardian Chalkboards

Holden’s 33 attempted passes topped his squad’s passing charts (left back Paul Robinson also had 33 attempts, but a number of his efforts were backpasses to Bolton’s keeper) and Holden had more successful challenges than any of his teammates. But though he had an even better defensive game than is the norm, he completed only 72% of his passes, his second lowest average of the season. At times, Holden seemed to mentally wilt under pressure from Wigan’s pressing. He would squeak out of a challenge but send his delivery right to another Wigan defender. In previous matches, most of his passing errors were due to misreading a teammate’s run or trying to squeeze a ball into too tight an angle. Today, he simply sent passes straight to the opposition.

Holden, despite these errors, certainly didn’t have an unproductive match. The simple fact that he led his team in both passes and tackles attempted indicates Bolton heavily relies on the young center midfielder. Additionally, Holden provided the initial cross that set up Bolton’s equalizer. Owen Coyle won’t mind a few misplaced passes now and then if Holden keeps helping to create goals.

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