Monday 18 December 2017

Comedy of errors leaves Coyle in the firing line

This was a simple slaughter at the Reebok and Owen Coyle will now feel that he could be the next quarry.

It cannot continue like this for the Bolton manager, who has been dealt the most daunting sequence of matches and has also been hit by suspensions and injuries.

Worst of all, having pleaded with Chelsea to allow him to take Daniel Sturridge back on loan, he met with a firm rebuttal from Andre Villas-Boas. Sturridge, inevitably, ran riot.

The Chelsea manager will have enjoyed this, at times, breathtaking display.

It contained two superbly crafted goals and a bravura display by Frank Lampard who collected a hat-trick -- the fifth of his career at the club. Afterwards, both managers spoke of "pride". For Villas-Boas this was the display he has been waiting for "for quite some time", one that "fills me with pride" and sends out a title message. For Coyle it was about telling his players to "save some pride" at half-time "for the football club, for themselves, for the fans".

"I came into this job when we were favourites for relegation and that is where we start now," he said. "If I receive criticism, then I will have to take it on the chin."

Bolton will cling to the fact that they rallied in the second half, scoring a goal through Dedryck Boyata and managing another effort that probably crossed the line but they were completely dominated for far too long.

When Lampard bundled home the fourth goal just 27 minutes had elapsed and Coyle was already looking at his watch.

This season, Coyle's side have lost six successive Premier League matches and conceded 21 goals in seven games. They have lost 11 of their last 12 in the league. To cap it all, this result means they have made their worst start for 109 years.

But none of those previous fixtures were as embarrassing as this one. At half-time they played 'Yakety Sax' by Boots Randolph (often used to accompany scenes in the Benny Hill Show) and it felt apt and strangely cruel.

It was was like watching comedy sketches at double speed with Bolton totally confused by Chelsea's passing and movement, and Lampard scoring, perhaps, the best team goal so far this season.

Chelsea were helped by a hapless performance by stand-in goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, a Hungarian with a shock of red hair and, after the game, a red face, given the blame for both Sturridge and Lampard's second goals could be laid at his feet.

Bolton 1, Chelsea 5, Jason Burt

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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