Friday, October 20, 2017

Prediction: Bolton Wanderers vs Leeds United

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet 365

The Championship season gets underway this weekend as Bolton host Leeds at the Macron Stadium. Both sides will be keen to get their campaign off to a flyer in the Sunday afternoon kick-off.

Bolton

After guiding Bolton to a second-placed finish and promotion to the Championship last season, manager Phil Parkinson will be wary of the difficulty he will have in maintaining their status this year in one of Europe’s toughest leagues. Even though the Trotters impressed in League 1, mostly due to their rock-solid defence, they will know they are one of the favourites to go straight back down again. Pre-season has been slightly inconsistent for Bolton, three straight wins on the bounce were followed by a winless run in four games but Parkinson knows this is where the serious business starts and he won’t need much help in firing up his men for this match. The Whites haven’t really managed to invest heavily after finding themselves trapped under a transfer embargo, leaving their squad lacking in depth, but they do have the likes of Adam Le Fondre who will be hoping he can resurrect his career in Greater Manchester. Parkinson has had to sign a few players on a free but only time will tell whether they can strengthen the team for a relegation scrap.

Team News

All new 10 summer signings are available for Parkinson.

Le Fondre is due to partner Gary Madine up front while right-back Mark Little could deputise at right-back.

Leeds

After a promising season last year in which Leeds failed at the last hurdle to get into the play-offs, fans will be unsure about what manager Thomas Christiansen can bring to the team after replacing Garry Monk. The Danish boss was a surprise appointment in the summer by Andrea Radrizzani after the owner had also looked at David Wagner and Jaap Stam. Christiansen has no previous managerial experience in English football but as Marco Silva at Hull City proved last season, head coaches making their bow in England are more than capable of hitting the ground running. Leeds fans will be pleased Championship top-scorer Chris Wood has remained at the club and they’ve also strengthened in every other area across the pitch. Dutch midfielder Vurnon Anita joins the ranks, along with former Werder Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald and Poland internationals Ezgjan Alioski and Mateusz Klich.  Leeds have only won twice during pre-season but it’s very much the start of a new era at Elland Road and the team will be hoping they can find the right formulae before kicking off against Bolton on Sunday.

Team News

Only suspended Pontus Jansson is unavailable for Christiansen’s men.

Chris Wood will start up top, while on-loan defender Matthew Pennington will partner Liam Cooper in defence.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Bolton have not scored in three of their last five opening day games, winning only once
  • For the seventh consecutive season, Leeds will start the campaign with a new manager
  • The Whites have failed to win in their last 12 away games played on a Sunday in all comps (D5, L7)
  • Bolton’s 86 points last season was their best points total since 2000/01 (87)
  • Leeds’ 0-3 defeat to QPR last campaign was their heaviest loss in a season opener since 1989/90 vs Newcastle (2-5)

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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