No Place Like Home
Date: Monday 8th December 2008déjà vu - n.
1. The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.
a. An impression of having seen or experienced something before: Old-timers watched the stock-market crash with a distinct sense of déjà vu.
b. Dull familiarity; monotony: the déjà vu of the tabloid headlines.
c. Watching Bolton play at home.
The Reebok Stadium used to be something of a fortress, an impenetrable arena which saw the end of many a ‘big clubs’ pretensions and delusions of grandeur. But those days are long gone, and now for once the media stereotype rings true, teams do know exactly what they’ll get at the Reebok.
Of course, it needs to be underlined that on this occasion we were playing a much better side than ourselves in Chelsea, but this has not been a one off occurrence. The losing was expected and acceptable, but the predictability of it was once again worrying. Teams are turning up at the Reebok safe in the knowledge that if they sit back and defend, we’ll be unable to break them down and a point is guaranteed. For the good teams, they’ll know that there will also probably be a free header at some point for one of their strikers to take all three.
So, even as we chased the game in the second half (after Anelka had strode through the canyon that had appeared between O’Brien and Cahill to nod home the first, and Deco had been given the freedom of Horwich to execute a perfect bicycle kick for the second) there was a definite feeling of ‘we’ve been here before’ along with the feeling of inevitability that we wouldn’t score. Indeed, we’ve been chasing late goals in all but one of our home games this season, but only against Man City have we managed anything other than a feeble tap at the opposition door.
The problem? It’s hard to put your finger on it really; after all we’re not the only side this season to have some troubles at home. Even our opponents yesterday have seen their long established unbeaten run at home smashed twice already this season, and have only won three of their eight games at Stamford Bridge this term. However while it is no reason to go overboard, it certainly must be a concern to Megson and his team that we’ve only even managed to score in three of these games thus far.
It could be a lack of creativity. The mythical creative midfielder has yet to surface in a White shirt, and a lack of guile could be costing us points. So too could a lack of pace be compromising our ambitions, as many times teams are able to get defenders behind the ball before we reach their 18 yard line. Perhaps even the Bolton crowd, notoriously quick to get on players' backs (something which thankfully wasn’t in evidence yesterday) could be affecting the side.
I’m not sure, but it needs to be addressed soon, as home games against Wigan and Portsmouth must rank as our best chances to pick up wins before February.
Dorothy might have thought in the Wizard of Oz that there was no place like home, but it’s clear that at the minute Bolton’s players would rather be anywhere than the Reebok on a match day.