Ian Evatt’s Bolton side suffered their first competitive defeat of the 2021/22 campaign as they lost on penalties to Wigan in the League Cup on Tuesday night.
Wanderers won three of their first five matches in all competitions, along with two draws. However, they were unable to progress into the third round of the cup as they lost 5-4 on penalties to their League One rivals.
Nathan Deflouneso missed the crucial penalty for Bolton after Wigan goalkeeper Jamie Jones had scored for his side, but it was another player who let Evatt down with his performance on the pitch during the game itself.
Elias Kachunga, signed on a free transfer earlier this month, was given his full debut after five substitute appearances and failed to make the most of his opportunity. He has produced two assists in four cameo appearances in League One this season, but the attacker did not show off his quality from the start against Wigan.
The £720k-rated dud only managed 16 touches of the ball in 65 minutes on the pitch, compared to the 47 touches goalkeeper Matt Gilks managed between the posts for Bolton. He also lost the majority of his duels on the pitch and lost possession of the ball four times from his 16 touches.
“Showed a feistiness that the Bolton fans will love – but clearly still feeling his way towards full fitness and was replaced by Doyle after an hour.”
This comment, along with his worrying statistics, suggests that he was, perhaps, not ready to start. He proved Evatt wrong after he put faith in him for this game, as Kachunga was seemingly not prepared to make an impact from the starting XI. At this point in the season, he may only be a viable option from the bench until he finds his rhythm and is able to be more involved in games.
Kachunga only attempted one shot in the match, which was blocked, and created zero chances for his teammates. Defensively, he made zero clearances, tackles, interceptions or blocks whilst being dribbled past once, showing that he did not do a great deal to impact the game.
It was a bit of a horror showing from the ex-Huddersfield man, one that he will be hoping to put behind him as quickly as possible.
He now needs to show Evatt, in training or by coming off the bench in the next match, that he does have the quality to make a big impact at this level and that this performance is not the standard he wants to set for himself.