Bolton vs. Newcastle United Preview

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Published: 21/12/2011

Bolton Wanderers are likely to go into this fixture on Boxing Day as the Premier League’s bottom club – and consequently, they will be starting their quest to overturn a twenty year hoodoo whereby no team occupying 20th place at Christmas has ever managed to escape relegation.

Wanderers enjoyed years of success in the Premiership under Sam Allardyce who effectively cemented a squad on the cheap which was packed full of quality and experience in abundance.

Allardyce’s departure from the Reebok not only left a gaping hole in the dressing room, but also a breakdown of the framework which he had set out for the club.

Subsequently, Bolton have lost their way in recent seasons and it has been no surprise to see them struggle this time around as the effects of not having a clear set up, as they did under Allardyce, have shown.

Owen Coyle is a man very much under pressure from the home fans after bringing so much optimism and promise to the club following his own personal success at Burnley.

The Scot’s fundamental problem is his back four, which has leaked a telling 38 goals so far in the 2011-2012 campaign despite being anchored by England international Gary Cahill, who the club are also struggling to hold on to following persistent interest from other teams higher up the table.

Alan Pardew himself has been reported for his interest in the impressive Cahill however he will be hoping to expose him and his counterparts further in this fixture.

Newcastle have slumped since their barnstorming start to the season which saw them achieve a remarkable twelve match unbeaten run. The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea consumedly broke their resolve however and proved that the Geordies early season place in the top four of the league was false.

Pardew has, nevertheless, instilled a team ethic at St James’s Park that Coyle would be most envious of and that could be the difference between these two teams on Boxing Day considering that they are both on the downgrade albeit to contrasting effect.

Demba Ba has remained a threat for the Toon even during defeat and demonstrated his class when snatching two goals away at Norwich where Newcastle were soundly beaten and largely outclassed.

If the rest of the Newcastle side can work as hard as they have done for the majority of the season so far, Ba should be afforded the chance to punish Bolton’s defence and help claim a vital three points which will halt his side’s plummet down the Premier League order.

Newcastle’s last line of defence is also vastly superior in the shape of Tim Krul who must surely be in contention for an international debut.

Should Bolton even manage to break Newcastle’s resistance, Krul possesses the ability to keep the opposition out time after time and this could be a more than frustrating afternoon for the hosts.

It’s never advisable to back a team who are out of form – but Bolton do look truly dire even at the best of times and the 2/1 available for Newcastle should be seriously looked at as their won’t be much better value for away sides lying around on December 26 – particularly against bottom club’s in the Football League.


© Frixo 2017

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