English Premier League
Bolton v Wigan
Another top flight game but this time the action focuses on the bottom end of the table as third bottom Bolton play host to bottom of the table Wigan at the Reebok.
Owen Coyle has remained the calmest person at Bolton Wanderers despite their lowly league position and poor form this season. After reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season and performing with great credit in the league, much was expected from Wanderers with another year under their belt working with the former Burnley manager. It’s not panned out that way and after last week’s loss away to Norwich they find themselves back in the relegation zone. It’s a densely packed bottom half of the table as 10 points separate 10 teams. Conceivably, all those sides could be involved in the shakeup come the end of the season but one thing is certain – Bolton are definitely involved in it. Their home form needs to improve if they want to ensure they stay in the division. Two wins from 12 games is just not good enough; although they are currently on an unbeaten run of five matches in all competitions at the Reebok.
Wigan have it all to do between now and May if they wish to survive another season. Last season’s dramatic last day escape was indicative of their never say die attitude but they have been terrible for much of this season. Hugo Rodallega was their star man last season but he’s been out of form this time around and they have, as yet, failed to replace them. 21 goals scored is the worst total in the Premier League and in serious need of improvement. Their top scorer is Franco Di Santo with a measly four goals to his name and it is going to take a mammoth effort if they are to climb off the bottom of the table and reach safety. Currently on a run of 10 games without a win so confidence, understandably, is going to be low. Roberto Martinez will remain confident that he can turn things around like they did last year but their performances need to improve before the results will.
As well as being a very important match in terms of league positions, it’s also a game the public look forward to as both clubs are situated nearby each other. It’s unlikely to be one for the purists although both managers do prefer to play football, the situation they are in should dictate that it is tense and fraught.
A Bolton win and Wigan are cast even further adrift at the bottom of the table whilst also suffering a further blow to their confidence. A point is not the worst result but they really do need to start winning games. If it wasn’t for Tim Howard’s catastrophic error last weekend it would have been another defeat. Bolton are performing slightly better of late and may just have enough.
My Selection: Bolton to beat Wigan
Best odds available: 21/20 available with William Hill