Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic

It's another relegation 6 pointer for Bolton as they host a Wigan side who are loaded with confidence after defeating Liverpool on Monday. Bolton have had to make some changes as Sam Ricketts is suspended.

Andy O'Brien (a disaster waiting to happen) comes into central defense, which does not bode well for the Wanderers.

Tamir Cohen returns from suspension and steps right into central midfield. Cohen has been solid, if unspectacular, this season. A large part of the support has not taken to him, but Bolton's best performances this season have come with him on the pitch.

Johann Elmander has been playing quite well, but still has struggled to find the back of the net, his fine strike for Sweden notwithstanding, and if he misses another tap-in this week the predictable groans and Ivan Klasnic chants from the moodier amongst the supporters will only serve to sap his confidence even further.

Speaking of moody, winger Vladimir Weiss is one again starting from the bench, which the 20-year-old will be unhappy about. I would like to see both he and Mustapha Riga get a solid chance to show what they can do, but injuries and red cards the past few weeks have prevented it.

As for relegation, Burnley and Wolves also face each other today, and they will be even more desperate than Wigan and Bolton for 3 points. We could see both these matches drawn, which is fairly common for these high pressure encounters, but if Wigan or Bolton manage to take all 3 points they will go a long way towards securing top flight football for next season. For me, the traditional 40 point threshold will put a club 13th or 14th in the table at the end of this season. A win for Bolton would give them 32 points, and while they should't pack up their boots and go on holiday if that happens, 32 points may keep you up this season.

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