It has been awhile now that Owen Coyle has insisted that his Bolton team are different than the Bolton premiership fans have come to know. This season has seen the team start to deliver on that statement.
Gone are the days of sixty meter artillery barrages on the opposition eighteen yard box, and instead a tighter more synchronised pattern has emerged as Bolton have systematically dismantled several sides this season, with attacking football that has thrilled the teams faithful followers.
The players have been delivering excellent football with a unified diligence based on a belief in the words spoken by Coyle on the training ground and in the press room.
Johan Elmander is delivering on the sum invested in him with eight goals scored by the big Swedish striker. His footwork alone this season has demonstrated the talent he has and his scoring rate is on a par with another inform giant, Andy Carroll of Newcastle United
Elmander's two against Newcastle in the weekend displaying the finesse he has at his command.
Along with him Coyle has also had Bolton hero Kevin Davies in excellent form, with Fabio Capello even calling him up to start for the national side. Lee Chung Yong has also been in fine touch, and with a nickname like 'Blue Dragon', why wouldn't you be? The Korean continues to show why he has been successful in the English game, with fine play and a grit that belies his slight frame.
Bolton currently sit in fifth place on the table, and have recently been scoring for kicks, in one match putting four past a Tottenham side that had just beaten Inter Milan, though recent form has suggested that that is not as difficult as it was last season. Bolton however have proceeded to ignore reputations and go about their work with a ferocious speed a crafty hyena could well emulate sneaking in on a larger predators kill.
Manchester United were two up at the Reebok before crumbling to a draw that was reported more as United's failure than Bolton's revival. The truth has come through in the table though, as reflected in the belief displayed against the giants of Manchester, is the sky high morale that has seen them bustle, flick and feint their way to the top five positions.
Coyle has brought an attacking style based on ball movement and positional play back to Bolton and they have started to look more and more like a team that will be extremely difficult to beat on their home ground. The movement and urgency is at optimum levels as displayed in the turbulent time that gave to Newcastle, speed and technical quality leaving the visitors struggling to keep up. Though Newcastle did in fact conjure up a fair few chances of their own, the clinical finishing of Bolton was more than enough to see the home side put five past Chris Hughton's wonderfully inconsistent Newcastle side.
Coyle was seen again in the after match to say that his team has come to play teams off the pitch rather than harangue them off it.
Bolton have been one reason that many fans of the game are saying this is one of the most even competitions in the premier leagues history. The strength presented by them now makes them yet another side that are capable of defeating any team in the league on their day. Coyle has proved that his notion to leave Burnley and try to reassemble a struggling Bolton was the correct one, as he has taken them from relegation danger to champions league challengers within a few short months.
Bolton have been a strong side in the past and Sam Allardyce can be credited for his work in making them a team that visitors took detailed note of.
The new era is here though, and Coyles arrival has turned around a team that were in serious danger of going the way of other sides that challenged the ruling elite for a time, to the championship. They avoided this though and have started to turn on a style of football, that is entertaining to watch and also producing results.
It would not be a surprise to see this team in the running for the place they currently hold, as the season winds up in a few months time.