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[Archived] Bolton 0 Rovers 1


bellamy11
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As writing this preview after the boxing day match would leave little time for discussion here, I've taken the liberty to account for all the Newcastle outcomes.

Following that rousing 3-0 win, we now travel the short distance to the Reebok Stadium to take on our local Premiership rivals Bolton Wanderers. They'll be smarting after their 5-0 hammering against Man United and looking to pick up some much-needed points. Personally, I can't see a team that turned Newcastle over so comfortably in the second half (despite being a man down) losing this one. Stead will continue his scoring record by bagging his second hattrick in as many games, although I do foresee Dickov missing a penalty. I can genuinely see this team dragging us out of the mess we're in and pushing all the way for European places at the end of the season.

Who'd have thought it? What was looking like a miserable match against Souness's Newcastle turned into a thrilling match with a spirited second half fightback. Despite Andy Todd unluckily being sent off for a mistimed challenge on Souness, we still managed to find the two goals needed to cancel out Bellamy's first half strikes. I never knew Brett Emerton had it in him. His first goal - where he beat each player twice before ramming the ball home was in particular a joy to watch. However, I do feel very worried about the number of draws we’re getting. We definitely need to turn them into wins soon or we’ll get dragged back into the mire. Hopefully we can start against Bolton, who will be disappointed with their 6-0 stuffing against Man United. I’m not convinced that Dickov is going to get us the goals necessary. In fact, the squad at the moment doesn’t fill me with confidence and I still envision a worrying season ahead.

I’m not sure I can be bothered going to Bolton after that shambolic display by those over-paid muppets. I do not expect to be turned over 2-1 at home to a team in bad form, and I certainly do not expect Titus Bramble to win man of the match, towering as he was. Andy Todd never had Bellamy in sight, and the moment when Laurent Robert cracked the freekick into the top corner then celebrated with his manager sickened me. Our only saving grace in our next game against Bolton is that they got mauled 7-0 by Man United. Although that’ll probably mean they’ll come out fighting and beat us again. Dickov isn’t good enough. His penalty today was lucky and showed what a coward he is by not scoring from open play and choosing to do it from a dead ball instead. The squad isn’t good enough and we’ll be relegated for sure if we don’t replace these losers in January.

Since returning to the Premiership in the same promotion season, Blackburn and Bolton have had differing fates. Rovers initially excelled with a Cardiff cup victory and two consecutive European seasons. This overshadowed a Bolton side who lacked any consistency and had a penchant for throwing games away with late conceded goals. Recently though, the teams have undergone somewhat of a role reversal. Rovers have struggled and last season spent the whole term battling relegation. Bolton, on the other hand, enjoyed a season of fast-paced football with a few brilliant results against the big boys thrown in too. Since their return they have a couple of victories at Old Trafford and last season they were the first Premiership team to win at Stamford Bridge since Abramovic became involved.

This season they started in the same vein. They’ve drawn 2-2 away at Arsenal and Chelsea whilst we’ve got an aggregate score line of 0-7 in the exact same fixtures. They were also a whisker away from a win at home to Man Utd only for a last minute sickener to ruin their day (sound familiar?).

Recently though, the two sides have seen their luck change. Rovers have seen their penalty and 0-0 hexes lifted and look a lot more solid as of late. Bolton have seen their defensive shape disintegrate and conceded 3 goals at low-scoring Norwich and bore kings Everton. On paper, the two sides look a lot more equal than league positions would suggest, and this fixture at the Reebok has a history of being very tight.

Our first ever fixture away at Bolton ended in a 3-2 defeat in January 1889.It took until 1894 for us to record our first win there – 3-1 the score this time. Over the history of the clubs, much has been equal in matches between the two. Bolton have won 59 times in total, Rovers 52, and 33 have ended in draws.

Since the Premiership began we have played 5 times away at Bolton. We haven’t won any of them. However, we did win there in division one with a magnificent 4-1 scoreline. It was so long ago, Craig Hignett even scored directly from a free kick. Oh for a player who could do that now.

In the last two seasons we have been very lucky to snatch back a point. Two seasons ago, Jay Jay Okacha put Bolton ahead from the edge of the area and they had numerous chances to finish us off. Their lack of cutting edge in front of goal ended up costing them dearly when Craig Short bundled home a header in the 94th minute. Last season, despite being totally outclassed in the first half we were still in the game due to a Matt Jansen goal. Again, in the dying seconds, Ciccio Grabbi swivelled and crossed for Dwight Yorke to head in from point-blank range.

Despite the flurry of recent draws, Bolton were the last side to win this derby match when they overcame a 3-1 deficit to turn us over 4-3 at Ewood. We will not be looking for a repeat of this on Tuesday.

I managed to grab an interview with Mark Heap who runs a very nice Bolton website (http://www.boltonwanderers-mad.co.uk).

Bolton have had a very up-and-down season so far. You started like a house on fire but in recent weeks have started to struggle for points. Is there a reason for this?

I think ever since we won against Newcastle United back in October our form has dipped. Your old manager Graeme Souness accused Bolton of long ball, physical tactics and every media pundit up & down the country started to jump on the bandwaggon. I feel this had a psychological effect on performances thereafter as the team started to lose a little bit of focus and momentum.

One player in particular who has come in for a bit of criticism of late is

Jay-Jay Okacha. Bolton have been criticised by certain frustrated managers that their style isn't pretty or exciting to watch. Are these events related, in your opinion?

Jay-Jay is not the only player in our team who can create, we also have the likes of Gary Speed, Kevin Nolan and Stelios to name but a few, I think our physical tag has come about because we deploy the holding striker with two other attackers pushing on but i feel that although we do sometimes play it long we try to mix some flair in there too.

Big Sam has a reputation for revitalising players. Kevin Davies is one such

example who is well-known to us Rovers fans. Why do you think Bolton are so good at bringing the best out of people?

I think Sam is a very good man manager and is able to help players such as Kevin Davies realise that they still have something to offer the Premiership. He makes them see that they can rediscover the ability and endevour to compete at the highest level and works very hard at getting them mentally and physically prepared.

Ivan Campo and Fernando Hierro are both players who have played at the top level. As a fan, are you in favour of seeing such big names when they're not playing at the level they have been doing previously? Or do you worry about the lack of youth coming through?

Both Campo and Hierro have suffered due to the team's recent dip in form but they are two people who are key figures in the team when on top of their game. I like to see players such as these come to the club as they have the experience of winning things and playing at the very highest level.

I don't think the youth system is effected too much by the addition of continental players as we have Nicky Hunt and Kevin Nolan playing regularly in the first team, added to that we have young lads on the verges of the first team such as Ricky Shakes, Danny Livesey, Charlie Comyn-Platt and Jason Talbot, all of whom Sam is very keen to see develop further.

Jussi has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Man United. Do you expect him to go?

I think eventually he will as he is stalling on signing an improved contract, but I don't expect that anything will happen until the summer at least. Bolton have always been known to give in when big money is offered but I think they will try their best to hold onto him for as long as they possibly can.

What are your views on Rovers's season?

I didn't expect them to be where they are in the table because they have a strong squad on paper. I think that too many draws have been their downfall in the first part of this season coupled with all the upheaval of Souness going to Newcastle. I think that as with any new manager it will take Mark Hughes time to shape the squad to how he wants it.

Are there any danger-men you will be looking out for when the sides meet?

I think Paul Dickov, Brett Emerton and Barry Ferguson are the players we need to monitor closely when we play Rovers. Both Dickov and Ferguson are battlers and will make Bolton work very hard during the course of the afternoon, whilst Emerton can be a menace down the flanks if he is given too much room to play.

Are you surprised at the decision not to keep Youri Djorkaeff?

Youri was excellent for us at the end of last season and is a hero in Bolton, but in all honesty he just did not live up to expectation during his time with Rovers and I think they made the correct decision in releasing him at the end of his contract. Injury played it's part for him but on the whole i felt that he just did not settle into the new surroundings at Ewood Park.

What system/team do you expect Bolton to play?

I think our team will be something like this: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Cesar, Okocha, Nolan, Speed, Pedersen, Davies, Diouf.

We will play a 4-3-3 formation.

Who do you expect your danger-men to be?

I think that Kevin Davies will be keen to do well against his old club but Rovers also need to be wary of Okocha and Nolan making runs from the midfield to support the attackers. In defence we have Jaidi and N'Gotty, both of whom are very good when it comes to set pieces in the opposing penalty area.

Score prediction?

Results between these two teams have usually ended in draws but I think that Bolton will sneak the win by two goals to one because they hold the home advantage.

And finally, where do you think both sides will finish the season?

I think given Bolton's recent run we have to be looking at mid-table now, although if things pick up I feel maybe we could make a late push for one of the European places. I think both sides will end the season finishing between 8th and 12th in the Premiership.

Thanks very much for that Mark.

My own prediction is a sneaky 2-1 win. We’ve looked a lot better lately and Bolton have been on a downer. We certainly need the points.

I've just got another set of answers from another Bolton website www.wanderersways.com. Thanks to Neil for these.

Bolton have had a very up-and-down season so far. You started like a house on fire but in recent weeks have started to struggle for points. Is there a reason for this?

A couple of bad defeats at home appeared to knock the confidence of some players. Plus others started to get too big for their boots with the ‘Charlie big time’ syndrome kicking in.

One player in particular who has come in for a bit of criticism of late is Jay-Jay Okacha. Bolton have been criticised by certain frustrated managers that their style isn't pretty or exciting to watch. Are these events related, in your opinion?

You as a team use your strengths to punish the opposition and that’s exactly what the Wanderers where doing. Okocha has a long throw, so it was decided for him to launch the ball in to the danger zone, just like a free-kick. Opposition managers don’t complain when a free-kick is put into the danger area so why moan about throw-ins?

Big Sam has a reputation for revitalising players. Kevin Davies is one such example who is well-known to us Rovers fans. Why do you think Bolton are so good at bringing the best out of people?

I would put it down to good man-management from Big Sam and his back-room staff. If a player is told he’s good and wanted, then obviously he will try harder for the club. I also think the fans love the ‘under-dog’ type player who tries.

Ivan Campo and Fernando Hierro are both players who have played at the top level. As a fan, are you in favour of seeing such big names when they're not playing at the level they have been doing previously? Or do you worry about the lack of youth coming through?

No I don’t mind quality players coming to the club as I’m sure other clubs do the same. At Bolton we have a good youth system, Nicky Hunt and Kevin Nolan are two products of this. Recently Ricardo Vaz Ta has broken into the first team squad, he is Portuguese but still he has come through the youth system and has been at the club for 2 years now.

Jussi has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Man United. Do you expect him to go?

Not sure really, he has been linked with moves every year since we have been in the Premiership. He has improved as a keeper, but his kicking is atrocious.

What are your views on Rovers' season?

Bit indifferent, similar to that of the Wanderers but in reverse. I never rated Souness as a manager, he’s had money at his disposal and never produced a team to push for the Championship.

Are there any danger-men you will be looking out for when the sides meet?

Danger men, how many goals have you scored this season?

Are you surprised at the decision not to keep Youri Djorkaeff?

Looking back Big Sam was right to release Youri. He is not getting any younger and may have to drop down a level now. He has been a top player and certainly one that I shall remember for a long time as he was the catalyst that opened the flood gates for other top players to come to the Reebok.

What system/team do you expect Bolton to play?

4-4-2 Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Cesar, Jaidi, N’Gotty, Nolan, Okocha, Speed, Campo, Diouf, Davies

Who do you expect your danger-men to be?

Diouf and Davies. The latter being an ex-player looking to prove himself.

Score prediction?

Rovers 1 Wanderers 2

And finally, where do you think both sides will finish the season?

Wanderers 12th, Rovers 17th

Edited by bellamy11
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Top notch Bellamy. Thanks

Flopsy, get your lazy lardy-arse into gear. We want poetry. Alliteration, allegories, Stuart-Hall-isms.......

"........and then, as the December dusk drew its dusty veil over the silent graveyard of Villa Park, Andy Todd rose like a leaping salmon to head in Rovers' fifth goal."

Like, y'know.

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you can have two questionnaires done by some nice villa fans. and be grateful. My Sky+ is on the blink thats a hell of a lot more important.

Im going for a 2-1 Win for (Censored) with (Censored) and (Censored) scoring for (Censored) and (censored) scoring a consolation.

Gerintoem to be sung 25.67 times.

Gav to have got a new shelf for christmas.

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Malt and Hops, friday Street alongside the railway line, 2 mins from the station.

It is also in the Real Ale Guide. No poncy lager drinkers here please.

ps. watch out for Notlobs on Chorley Station and the train itself, take my advice go low profile.

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For a pint in Chorley, which is well endowed with a D-Cup full of good pubs, near the station is, as already mentioned the Malt n Hops.

Or for the financially challenged amongst us, try Sams Bar, just over the road. £1.60 for a pint of lager, £1.20 for hand pulled bitter and the worlds biggest telly with sport on.

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"Rovers have only won one in the last eight. If we cannot stop our losing run against this lot, I can't see when we ever will"

- A Trotter/ Big Sam

Something's going to give but it is going to need heroics of the highest order if its our winless run which ends.

Just feel this has a 0-0 bore draw written all over it.

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We are obviously a very hard team to play at the moment. One loss in eight games. Plus it is fair to say that mostl of those games we have looked the better side. Should have picked up three points today and a Everton last week.

Nonetheless it will be a completely different kettle of fish against Bolton due to their directness and reliance on set pieces. We are awful at defending freekicks and so on so I expect we might get a bit of a kicking in that department.

Another 2-2 draw.

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Seen the Robert free kick- yes it was brilliantly taken but it was a stupid one to give away and the body language of the Rovers preparing to defend it was panic and "we don't fancy this". In the end Robert's execution was so good, I don't think there was actually that much at fault with our defending of it apart from giving the opponents reason for optimism by the way we went about it. You see calm organisation when teams like Chelsea prepare to defend dangerous free kicks.

Why do I mention this?

Bolton have been/are the Prem's set piece masters- that's where their goals have been coming from. This is a local derby and we have players at the back who can be clumsy so dangerous free kicks are going to be given away.

Bit of a worry.

Here's hoping Sparky gets the lads to defend up the field and has had his video system working overtime on Big Sam's set pieces.

Unfortunately, being without Reid could be a big miss for the Rovers (and I did not think I would ever be able to write that).

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