For me, the issue lies with us being far too narrow as a back four and heavily reliant on the diligence, intelligence and hard-work of our wide midfielders to prevent crosses.
Take Bolton’s third goal:
We are nowhere near the ball here and Zeli is never going to prevent or effect the winger’s delivery.
Devlin is occupying a redundant position 20 yards from the touchline when he could be out there engaging the man with the ball as Zeli provides cover. With the extremely narrow position of the back four a cross of any quality will bypass Devlin - as proved the case here.
That said, if we are going to focus on defending narrow and congesting the six yard box the players need to take ownership. Neither Guthrie or Martin are close enough to their man here and we’re overloaded on the back post.
If packing the box causes this much confusion is it not better to have a broader back line focused on preventing crosses in the first place?
Anyway, same thing for the fourth.
Yes there was a quick free-kick, but here we have another laboured attempt by the wide midfielder (Morris this time) to block the cross and the defence incredibly compact yet not engaging their players. I counted 6 outfield Walsall players in the box as the goal is scored, but the Bolton forward has a free header.
Again Devlin is in no-man’s land, again we’re being overloaded at the far post and again a quality ball is going to cause us trouble.
I can sympathise with Keates trying to make us more compact at the back, but we’ve become far too exposed from out wide and no more organised in the centre. I don’t think opposition teams are targeting our full-backs, but they are capitalising on the narrowness of our defensive shape.