As soon as the teams were announced for this one, it was apparent that only one club were taking the FA Cup seriously and would progress to the next round.

While we had Assou-Ekotto pressed into action at right back, this was only because of an illness to Corluka and our strange decision to send out on loan any back up, that was both able to play in the position and was not cup tied.

Bolton’s puzzling team sheet was of their own choosing. Given Kevin Davies’ brilliant record against Spurs and how well he played in the first match, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw his name amongst the substitutes.

Someone used to sitting on the bench themselves, but last night called into our starting eleven, was Roman Pavlyuchenko. The Russian’s resurgence continued when he gave us the lead, after a quiet start to the game from both teams.

Receiving a ball from Luka Modric on the left, Pav turned his man on the edge of the area and coolly slotted home. The goal exemplified his best qualities; his ability to create space for himself or teammates with a deft touch and the quality of his finishing.

It wasn’t long before we doubled our lead. Bentley swung a corner over to the waiting Tom Huddlestone, who was loitering outside the area. Presumably the idea worked out on the training ground was for The Hudd to magnificently volley the ball into the net, but when Huddlestone failed to bring the ball under instant control and with Bolton players pressing, he was forced into improvisation.

He played a probing ball down the right flank that found Palacios, who drilled it towards the near post. It looked as if Defoe had got the touch to make it 2-0, but replays showed that it actually went off the foot of Jaaskelainen for an own goal.

2-0 at half time was enough of a cushion for us to feel able to bring Defoe off (suffering from a tight hamstring) and give some much needed second half action for Eidur Gudjohnsen. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, the Icelandic forward was involved in the move that killed off the game.

Dropping deep into our own half, Gudjohnsen turned his marker and played a smart ball just ahead of the galloping Bale. Our attacking full back drilled in a ross that Bolton’s Andy O’Brien turned into his own net. 3-0 and we’d only had to bother scoring one of the goals ourselves.

Bolton actually had a reasonable amount of possession after this, but the lasting damage had already been done. Kranjcar and Rose came on for Palacios and Bentley and it was our young English winger who created the chance that would complete our night’s work.

Having been given the ball in acres of space on the right, Rose was able to amble down the touchline and pick his spot for his left-footed cross. The ball found the equally unmarked Pavlyuchenko, who took a touch round a despairing defender, before stroking it into the net for his second brace in the space of four days.

This is more like it. Wigan and Bolton might not have offered much in the way of resistance, but scoring seven goals with none conceded, will give us a much needed swagger for the difficult challenge against Everton at the weekend.

Confidence will also be swilling through the bloodstream of Roman Pavlyuchenko, like a 70% vodka. If he can keep this up, it is effectively like having a new signing.

Anyway, you must excuse me. I’m now off to see about booking my ticket for Fulham. Come on you Spurs!

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1 COMMENT

  1. We were awful. I lost count of the number of times we gave the ball away and we could actually have conceded a hatful against a very weak Bolton side. We’ll have to do much, much better to trouble Everton.

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