Saturday, August 21, 2010

West Ham United vs. Bolton Wanderers

The Wanderers travel to Upton Park having won on their last three visits there. This makes me nervous, as runs like these have to end at some point. A club like Manchester United or Arsenal can have runs of 20 matches against a particular club without losing, but there is not a substantial talent gap between these two clubs, so this kind of dominance is very unlikely.

Owen Coyle has named an unchanged side from that which drew 0-0 against Fulham last weekend. Avram Grant has made a few changes, and a couple of his new acquisitions are starting today. It is an attacking line-up for the Hammers, Scott Parker, who is a pretty offensive minded player, looks to be serving as the holding midfielder. Kieron Dyer and Pablo Barrera are the wingers, and neither is known for his defensive work.

Given this team, I think Martin Petrov and Lee Chung-yong really have a chance to shine. Both were less than stellar last week, but Fulham were set up specifically to deny the wingers space. This will not be a problem today. If you are a big picture sort of person, this is really a test of Coyle's system.

Neither team is outstanding on the defensive side, so it will be a shock if there aren't goals on both sides today. I am predicting a 2-2 draw. Look for Johann Elmander and Frederique Piquionne to get their first goals of the season.

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