Football – England – Championship
Saturday 19th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Fourth placed Crystal Palace will be hoping that thirteen is a lucky omen for them as they bid to extend their unbeaten home run to as many matches with the visit of disappointing Bolton Wanderers at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Despite some mixed results recently, Crystal Palace remain in the play-off mix and indeed, a win for The Eagles this afternoon could lift them up into one of the automatic promotion places depending on other results. Palace have recorded impressive wins over league leaders Cardiff City 3-2, Ipswich Town 5-0, Derby County and Brighton both 3-0 and a 3-1 New Years Day win over Wolves amongst others to remain in a strong position for promotion.
Palace will be eyeing off all three points in today’s fixture, an indication as to how bad Bolton have been this season since dropping down from the Premiership at the end of their last campaign. Crystal Palace’s home record is a strong one which stands at 8-4-1 33/16 and they are the highest scoring team at home in the Championship so far this season, along with keeping four clean sheets on home turf, Bolton will have their work cut out this afternoon.
Onto the visitors then, and as mentioned, Bolton have been very disappointing this season as they remain in the lower half of the division despite pre-season optimism of returning to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
Previous manager Owen Coyle has since departed, being replaced by former Palace manager Dougie Freedman who is sure to receive a boisterous reception from The Eagles fans and it still remains to be seen whether he made the right choice in leaving the London club for The Reebok Stadium.
Bolton have won just once in their last five matches which was a 3-1 home win over hapless Birmingham City but have suffered defeats against lowly Peterborough United 4-5, 0-1 at home to fourth from bottom Sheffield Wednesday and 0-1 at Leeds United. Away from home it doesn’t get much better I’m afraid with just one win in their last nine on the road, and they face another tough trip to Crystal Palace this weekend.
Bolton’s away record stands at 2-4-7 19/26 and they’ve yet to record a clean sheet on their travels which will have Palace’s prolific striker Glenn Murray (22 goals) licking his lips with anticipation. Wilfred Zaha still remains a Palace player for the time being and even if manager Ian Holloway agrees a deal this month, he’s likely to have to see out the season for Palace anyway. With that potential boost and Bolton’s poor away form, I’ll back Crystal Palace for a 2-1 win here but I recommend the handicap.
Pick: Crystal Palace AH-0.25 @ 1.88 Pinnacle looks the play here