After high, but unlikely, hopes for an upset against Norwich were put to bed eight minutes into Saturday’s game, Bolton must look at the humiliating defeat and learn the lessons required if they are to stay up this season.
Norwich put on a footballing masterclass against Phil Parkinson’s Wanderers. Despite being the home side, Bolton looked anything but comfortable as Norwich ran riot at the University of Bolton Stadium.
A forgone conclusion
As soon as Teemu Pukki’s first goal went in, it was almost guaranteed that Norwich would come away with all three points.
Fun-fact about Teemu Pukki: While at Celtic, Neil Lennon signed the Finnish international from Schalke in 2013.
To put it plainly, Norwich just showed far more class and inventiveness than Bolton. They rarely, if ever, hit the ball long and looked to exploit the lack of pace in Bolton’s side with quick, incisive passing, with great success. It was a display that would have pleased even Pep Guardiola.
You can watch highlights of Norwich’s victory below.
Whereas with Bolton, you had players who looked constantly uncomfortable in possession. Most of the team hoofed the ball away at the first possible opportunity. What’s worse, Bolton’s main target man, Josh Magennis, was mostly unsuccessful in his aerial battles as well.
There is a saying in football, that if you have the ball, the opposition can’t score. Clearly someone hasn’t told this to Phil Parkinson’s side as they looked to give Norwich possession at every possible opportunity.
Where do Bolton go from here?
As a Bolton fan it really was a painful watch and doesn’t inspire much confidence in their survival hopes.
Apart from some expert goalkeeping from Remi Matthews, including a penalty save, there were very few positives to take.
Everton loanees Callum Connolly and Joe Williams looked to link up well together but had very few chances to do so.
Granted Bolton were playing one of the best sides in the league, but the lack of quality on show doesn’t bode well. There are only so many times you get to play Rotherham in a season, so Bolton’s prospects of a win look few and far between.
As if matters couldn’t get worse, Bolton’s next opponents are Leeds.