Norwich City vs. Bolton Wanderers Preview

Barclays Premier League

Football
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Published: 02/02/2012

Newly promoted Norwich City will be confident of consolidating their position in the top half of the Barclays Premier League when they host relegation battling Bolton Wanderers at Carrow Road on February 4.

The Canaries solid and consistent home form has been the key driver towards their immediate success in England’s top flight and already they have become a force to be reckoned with and a respected test – even for the clubs challenging for title honours.

Indeed, only recently did Andre Villas Boas’ Chelsea side discover what a tough outfit Norwich are after being held to a 0-0 draw, a result which reinforced just how competitive Paul Lambert’s team have become in such a short space of time.

By contrast, the usually tenacious Bolton have struggled for most of the season and the Trotters have failed to preserve the Reebok Stadium’s status as one of the hardest venue’s to visit in the league.

Eight defeats in just eleven home Premier League matches has left Bolton on the brink of the bottom three, however their away form has not been as bad as some may expect of a club sitting perilously in 17th position.

Despite succumbing to seven defeats, Bolton have managed to secure four crucial victories on the road, a factor which is currently keeping their heads above dangerous waters.

And although they were on the receiving end of a 3-0 drubbing against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Wanderers have been playing their way into a little bit of form since the turn of the year.

A 1-2 success over Everton at Goodison Park suggested that Bolton have the ability to pull their way out of trouble and subsequent wins over Liverpool in the league and Swansea City in the F.A Cup have left Owen Coyle’s men with a new found confidence and belief that they can steer a clear path away from the drop zone. Paul Lambert has approached his first season as a Premier League manager magnificently and he will be extremely wary of the resurgent visitors even though he holds his Norwich squad in the highest regard.

The Scot has been very positive tactically in the majority of his side’s home matches and he will be hoping to force an early breakthrough so to break down Bolton’s resistance and get his opposite number and compatriot Coyle working hard on the touchline.

Norwich overcame Bolton in a five goal thriller the last time the two clubs met at Carrow Road in 2004 and a similar high scoring, passionate affair could be on the cards eight years on as attack will surely be the name of the game.

The bookmakers have kept things fairly open by offering odds against about the hosts and the 11/10 for Norwich to record their fifth home win of the campaign definitely appeals.

But with Bolton on the upgrade, anything is possible depending on which side gets out of the blocks first, so it seems more feasible to plump for a high scoring game and over 3.5 goals to be scored at odds of around 9/4.


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