Bolton Wanderers have always been considered the local team in Manchester, however over the past ten years there is reason to argue that they are much more than a local team. In 2005/2006 they appeared for the first time in a European competition, and looked certainly to be on the rise. But if you glance at the Premier League table at the moment, you’ll see that they lie rock bottom of the league, having lost 2-0 at Craven Cottage yesterday the staff and players look in dire need of some enthusiasm.
After the match, manager Owen Coyle declared that the penny has dropped for him and they are already in a relegation dog fight. He complained that the players need to come to this epiphany as well, but one can’t help but think that it’s already too late. The Wanderers would have to take a minimum of 1.6 points from all games, or win every home game to get out of the relegation zone. Things are looking more than bleak at the moment.
Tuesday night is one of the most important games of Owen Coyle’s career, as this is definitely a results based industry and if you don’t get the results, why are you still manager? Blackburn Rovers are another team who are already warding off the drop. Manager Steve Kean and fans have made a pact that there will be no ‘Kean Out’ banners at the next two home games, and he needs every ounce of support from the fans on Tuesday night. For me, the winner of the game will save themselves from relegation, it’s that important a game. The amount of confidence that three points will give the players of the winning team will be immeasurable. I personally cannot see a draw on the cards, both teams must go for the win.
After the Blackburn game, Bolton face Newcastle and Wolves at home, before facing a trip to Goodison Park to play Everton. Three years ago I would expect Bolton to get six points minimum out of these games, but unless they win at Blackburn, I can’t see them getting more than one. So, what’s wrong with the team? Is it the goalkeeper? No, Jussi Jaaskeleinen has been the only exceptional player in the team. I would estimate that 90% of the games Bolton have lost, Jussi has made the score line a much more respectable reading. If it’s not the goalkeeper, is it the defence? I wouldn’t point at the centre-backs, personally. Gary Cahill was somehow retained at Bolton after major interest over the summer from Chelsea and Arsenal among others, and this shows just how good a defender he is. Zat Knight has always managed to hold his own in defence as well, and so he should. For me, I think the problem is the midfield pairing. Reo-Coker and Muamba just aren’t the players needed to up hold Bolton in the Premier League. They are both very similar players in my eyes, and none have anywhere near the attacking ‘prowess’ needed. Bolton need some investment to sign a centre midfielder in January. But this might not be possible, as this week Bolton declared themselves 110 million pounds in debt. So, without money, results and confidence, where will that leave Bolton?
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