September 25th 2010
Bolton will try to build on the 1:1 draw against Aston Villa and extend their unbeaten run at Reebok Stadium to six games, while trying to improve on their last match against United that ended in a 4:0 defeat. The derby win over Liverpool served as a big confidence boost for Alex Ferguson’s men after the somewhat slow start to the season, although United face a tough task against hard-tackling Trotters.
Bolton were always going to improve under Owen Coyle, who is famous for being able to combine a hard-tacking approach with attractive attacking play and considering the pretty difficult fixture list, 6 points from 5 Premiership games have got to be considered a decent result for them. Despite missing keeper Jaaskelainen and stopper Cahill, the Trotters managed to show some potential against Arsenal and Aston Villa, although they were knocked out of the Carling Cup by none other than Coyle’s former side Burnley. The defeat could serve as a minor blow to players’ confidence before the United game, although there is no doubt the Trotters will do everything they can to stop United from developing their slick passing game since that is the only way for them to get something out of this match. The boss welcomes back Jussi Jaaskelainen from suspension, but Gary Cahill serves the final match of his three-game ban. Gardner, Andy O’Brien, Joey O’Brien and Samuel are all injury doubts.
Manchester United taught Liverpool a real lesson in football last weekend, but a couple of defensive mistakes almost ended up costing them precious points for the third time this season. In all fairness, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men produced a stunning performance and completely deserved to win the game, but if it hadn’t been for red-hot Dimitar Berbatov, Liverpool would have probably avoided defeat. With both Berbatov and Owen scoring goals for fun at the moment, Wayne Rooney’s dip in form doesn’t have such a negative effect on the team, thus Sir Alex has no reason to fear the trip to Reebok Stadium. The Scottish manager is yet to decide whether to include fit again Rio Ferdinand in the starting line-up, while Carrick, Valencia and Hargreaves, who has finally resumed training, remain out of contention.
Bolton have done fairly well so far and they look more than capable of avoiding the drop, but this is definitely not the match where they should be looking for survival points. United look to be in very good form at the moment, with their sheer technical superiority likely to prove enough for overcoming one of the toughest sides in the Premier League.
Verdict: Away win Manchester United (2)
Best Odds: 8/15
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