8th April 2011
Bolton return to home comforts after losing two successive away games and they now have a chance to virtually ensure survival with three points from this clash. West Ham squandered two-goal lead to lose 4:2 to Manchester United and the Hammers need to try and get something from this game.
Bolton are enjoying a very successful season, which is a nice surprise for their fan after several difficult years in the Premiership, with Owen Coyle clearly the main reason behind this uptrend in fortunes. The former Burnley boss has done a remarkable job at Reebok Stadium, having transformed Bolton from relegation strugglers to the team fighting for European places, and Trotters are on the road to make this one of the most successful seasons in their history. Even after the away defeats to Manchester United and Birmingham, Bolton are still in the race for the European places, whereas they are set to fight Stoke for the place in the FA Cup final. Owen Coyle’s side are looking to record fourth successive home win after beating Wolves, Everton and Aston Villa in their last three games, although that will not be an easy job since West Ham are fighting for their lives at the moment. Defender Zat Knight will be in contention after recovering from injury, while Ricardo Gardner has returned from loan spell at Preston and could be included in the squad.
West Ham needed quite some time to hit the ground running with numerous injuries to the playing squad just one of the reasons for the poor start of the season, but the Hammers showed a massive improvement in the second part of the league campaign, partly because of the arrival of several very good players in January. After beating Liverpool and Stoke at home and bringing one point from White Hart Lane, the Hammers had a great chance to produce an upset against Manchester United, but ended up squandering a two-goal lead and losing the game 4:2. As a result, West Ham remained in the bottom three and now have got to try and bring at least one point from Reebok or risk slipping further down the Premier League standings. Robbie Keane has returned into action following the short spell on the sidelines and he could start, while Victor Obinna is also pushing for the starting place.
We should see a very tight game between two very good sides and even though Bolton look closer to victory, my advice is to bet on draw. The Trotters will have one eye on the FA Cup clash with Stoke, while West Ham have the quality to spring a surprise, so draw appears to be the most likely outcome here.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 12/5
Bookmaker: William Hill
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