Owen Coyle Doesn’t Travel Well

Yesterday, Bolton Wanderers suffered their 10th defeat in their last 11 Premier League away games as they went down 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers.

Despite their great home record this season that has helped them to 8th position where they currently sit, Bolton are in the bottom three when it comes to teams away records; only Blackburn Rovers and Wolves are worse this season:

Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Arsenal (3) 17 8 6 3 36 23 13 30
2 Chelsea (2) 17 7 5 5 29 17 12 26
3 Manchester City (4) 17 7 4 6 23 19 4 25
4 Manchester United (1) 18 5 9 4 28 24 4 24
5 Tottenham Hotspur (6) 17 6 5 6 23 26 -3 23
6 Everton (7) 18 4 8 6 20 21 -1 20
7 Newcastle United (12) 18 5 4 9 13 28 -15 19
8 Blackpool (17) 17 5 3 9 22 36 -14 18
9 West Bromwich Albion (11) 17 4 4 9 22 35 -13 16
10 Fulham (9) 18 2 9 7 17 20 -3 15
11 Liverpool (5) 17 4 3 10 17 27 -10 15
12 Wigan Athletic (18) 17 3 6 8 16 27 -11 15
13 Sunderland (13) 17 3 6 8 15 28 -13 15
14 Aston Villa (14) 18 3 5 10 20 39 -19 14
15 Birmingham City (15) 17 2 7 8 16 32 -16 13
16 West Ham United (20) 18 2 7 9 17 36 -19 13
17 Stoke City (10) 18 3 3 12 15 27 -12 12
18 Bolton Wanderers (8) 18 2 5 11 15 28 -13 11
19 Blackburn Rovers (16) 17 3 2 12 20 40 -20 11
20 Wolverhampton Wndrs (19) 18 2 3 13 13 35 -22 9

Only Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have more points at home than Bolton Wanderers so far this season:


Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester United (1) 17 16 1 0 43 9 34 49
2 Chelsea (2) 18 14 2 2 37 11 26 44
3 Liverpool (5) 18 12 4 2 37 12 25 40
4 Arsenal (3) 18 11 4 3 32 13 19 37
5 Manchester City (4) 17 11 4 2 30 12 18 37
6 Bolton Wanderers (8) 17 10 5 2 33 20 13 35
7 Tottenham Hotspur (6) 17 8 8 1 27 17 10 32
8 Stoke City (10) 17 9 4 4 28 16 12 31
9 Fulham (9) 17 8 6 3 26 16 10 30
10 Everton (7) 17 7 7 3 28 22 6 28
11 Aston Villa (14) 17 7 6 4 24 18 6 27
12 Blackburn Rovers (16) 18 7 6 5 21 15 6 27
13 West Bromwich Albion (11) 18 7 6 5 29 30 -1 27
14 Sunderland (13) 18 7 5 6 25 24 1 26
15 Birmingham City (15) 18 6 8 4 19 20 -1 26
16 Wolverhampton Wndrs (19) 17 7 4 6 25 26 -1 25
17 Newcastle United (12) 17 5 7 5 36 23 13 22
18 Wigan Athletic (18) 18 4 8 6 19 32 -13 20
19 West Ham United (20) 17 5 4 8 23 27 -4 19
20 Blackpool (17) 18 4 5 9 26 34 -8 17

His team have picked up 5 clean sheets at the Reebok Stadium this season, with only Liverpool and Chelsea coming away with 3 points as visitors.  They put 4 past Tottenham and 5 past Newcastle earlier this season, while they have only scored more than 1 goal on the road on two occasions this season.

Going back to his Burnley days, Owen Coyle picked up just 1 point from 11 away games in the Premier League last season. That came in a surprise 3-3 draw at Manchester City, but defeats included a 4-0 thumping at Liverpool (Yossi Benayoun hattrick), 5-0 at Tottenham, 2-0 at Portsmouth, 2-0 at Wolves 3-0 at Fulham and 5-2 at Aston Villa.

Bolton did only lose 1 of their opening 7 Premier League away games this season (4-1 at Arsenal), winning 2 of those (at West Ham and Wolves), with four straight 1-1 draws. Since then, starting with a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City, it’s all been downhill for Owen Coyle’s side.

7 of their 11 away defeats have come by the odd goal. Liverpool and Tottenham both got stoppage time winners, whilst Dimitar Berbatov’s winner for Manchester United came in the 88th minute. Bolton have one remaining away fixture this season; at Bolton in two weeks time.

Owen Coyle left Burnley in January last season after a victory at Milton Keynes Dons in the FA Cup 3rd round, while Bolton have won at Wigan, Fulham and Birmingham City in the FA Cup this season, before their 5-0 drubbing at Wembley by Stoke in the FA Cup semi final.

Coyle’s Burnley side were exposed down the middle in their away games last season, while he refused to change his attacking intent despite having inferior players in most of their fixtures last season.

At Bolton, it’s fair to say they don’t have a player who can sit in front of the back four and defend them well. A Robbie Savage-like player who can break up opposition play, and to take pressure off the defence when they’re on the back foot on their travels.

Wanderers defenders are exposed more on their travels, both individually and collectively. They have 0 clean sheets on the road this season, although Coyle did achieve a 0-0 at Wigan last season (last season’s record as Bolton manager away from home: 2W 1D 8L).

Jussi Jaaskelainen is a top keeper, but in front of him stands Paul Robinson, Zat Knight, Gary Cahill and Gretar Steinsson. There’s a lack of pace and in truth, a lack of Premier League quality. Yes, Gary Cahill is highly rated and very talented, but alongside him there is the clumsy Knight, whilst the full backs don’t deal too well with wingers. Robinson gets out run by pacey wingers, although he has cut out his rash, erratic and costly fouls this season. David Wheater may be the long-term replacement for Cahill, should the recent England international be sold in the summer as expected, but the ex-Middlesbrough player gets exposed for his lack of pace too.

Bolton Wanderers also like to play an attacking formation, home and away under their Scottish manager. Prior to Daniel Sturridge’s injury against Arsenal, he and Kevin Davies were partnering up front, with forward Johan Elmander being stuck out on the right wing.

Yesterday, Bolton Wanderers became the third Premier League team Steve Kean has recorded a victory over since his career began on December 13th 2010 (the day after Sam Allardyce was sacked following defeat at the Reebok Stadium). Kean has two victories over West Brom and a victory over Liverpool in his 18 Premier League games as manager.

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