Ahead of tomorrow's match against Bolton Wanderers, we took the time to exchange five (well, "eight") questions with Lion of Vienna Suite, SB Nation's wonderful Bolton blog. Matilda Hankinson was gracious enough to take the time to answer our questions about Wanderers, Owen Coyle, and casting:
Are you happy with Owen Coyle's tactical approach since he took over as manager?
The short answer to this is no, because Owen Coyle doesn't really do tactics as a manager. He's stood faithfully by the 4-4-2 and the 60th minute sub. If a game is going poorly, he makes mostly like-for-like substitutions. There is no Plan B. Coyle is a man motivator, he can get the best out of players, which is why he's seen success. Despite his apparent lack of tactical nuance, the football has improved under him. I credit this mostly to him saying "pass it" rather than actual tactics.
Do you feel the same way about the Gary Cahill transfer saga the same way that we did about the Cesc Fabregas saga? Do you hate Arsenal as much as Thomas hates Barcelona? Do you think Gartside made a mistake by not selling him for as much as possible during the summer?
I don't hate Arsenal, although many Bolton fans do after that episode. I am tired of the saga in general now, it's been going for over a year, and I do wish we had sold him as I have faith in both Zat Knight and David Wheater. However, he is highly over-valued and isn't worth anywhere near what the club was asking, and you can hardly blame Wenger for refusing to meet the asking price.
Gael Kakuta scored against Aston Villa on Tuesday in the Carling Cup--how do you think his loan spell will go, and what does he bring to the team?
We have high hopes for Kakuta. Obviously the team has a good recent history with loan players; just ask Jacky Wilshere. With the injury of Chung-Yong Lee, and the on/off nature of Petrov, our wings needed something else in them. Kakuta can play on the left or the right, so we're expecting some attacking spice from him.
Bolton Player of (Last) Season Stuart Holden made his return from an ACL tear on Tuesday as well. What does he offer to Wanderers' midfield that brought so much early success last year? Related question: how much Counterstrike do you think he played during his injury layoff?
Stu Holden is the type of player who makes those around him better. He places passes in a way that makes players make runs. In addition to his attacking contributions, he does work in defense, tracking back and making tackles. A big issue so far this season has been lack possession in midfield, and Stu's tenacity means we have more possession. We have missed him terribly.
I don't know about Counterstrike, but I know he played a lot of FIFA. As himself. Yeah.
MNT in England: Stuart Holden on the Road to Recovery (via ussoccerdotcom)
What are your expectations for this season? And do you have a prediction for Saturday?
My expectation for the season before it started was a top 10 finish, but after our early results I've tempered that to just "higher than last year". Hopefully Stu's return will turn things around, but right now the team is really struggling. As for the match, we haven't won at Arsenal since the 60s, and I don't think that's about to change. I'm optimistically thinking a high scoring draw, 3-3. Whatever happens, given both teams' defenses this season, I'm sure there will be goals.
BONUS QUESTION: You have stated that George Clooney would play Owen Coyle in a film about Bolton--who would you like to see play Wenger?
(Credit to my coblogger Mark for this shout) Ian McKellen hands down. He can do the steely exterior, yet sensitive artist thing well. I'm sure he would do a great French accent as well, despite being from Bolton. Someone needs to make this film.