Premier League Preview Number 10: Bolton Wanderers

10 August 2009

Bolton Wanderers

Biggest Ins: Zat Knight and Sam Ricketts should provide ample cover at the back. Sean Davis at defensive midfield should be the starter day one.

Biggest Outs: No major losses as James Sinclair and Dlerim Dzemaili were nothing more than squad players.

Easiest Month: September. Yes it is a bit tricky with road fixtures to Portsmouth and Birmingham City. Sandwiched in between is a home tie with Stoke City. Considering how bad I think Portsmouth and Birmingham City will be, there is a chance at seven points this month.

Toughest Month: October. Bolton open the month hosting Tottenham before a visit to Old Trafford. The month ends with visits from Everton and Chelsea. At best they get three against Tottenham.

Five Questions About Bolton Wanderers This Season
1) How long will it take for Bolton Wanderers to get off Gary Megson’s back? Last year he was unjustly crucified due to his tactics. Yet, when it mattered, Bolton were never close to the relegation zone. Maybe it’s just time for Bolton supporters to lay off and let Megson do his job. It’s obvious he can do it well.
2) Does Megson have an answer on the right side of midfield? Megson used ten different players on the right side last season. Kevin Davies should be the natural starter, but he was put up front almost as many times as he played in midfield. If Megson can get that decision right, the midfield five will be a solid group.
3) Can Bolton get consistent? Last season Bolton had only one winning streak that was longer than one game. That streak was a whopping two games. Yes they had a four game draw streak at the end of the season, but they need the ability to put a winning streak together that is longer than two games.
4) Can Johan Elmander do more up front? Last season he went missing up front, only scoring five goals and creating two more. He was brought in to do more up front than that. If he doesn’t do much in the first half of the season, is he sold to bring someone else in?
5) Will Bolton win more away? Last season Bolton only won four times away, losing twelve. For a midtable side, Bolton was just fine at home. They just need to vastly improve the away form.

My Ultimate Reality: I expect Gary Megson to prove plenty of doubters wrong. He has a rock in Jussi Jaaskelainen and a decent back four. I expect the right side of midfield to sort itself out, making the midfield a tight unit. I expect Johan Elmander to excel in his second season in the Premier League. The away form is a bit worrisome, but I think it will be better than last season. All in all, Bolton will prop up the top half of the table.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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