Bolton v Tottenham, Premier League, October 3, 2009
With no European football to concern either of these two teams, Bolton and Spurs meet at the Reebok Stadium eager to build on recent good results after a full week off from the rigours of competitive action.
The home side had a slow start to the campaign and Gary Megsonâ€™s position as manager was looking a little precarious. True to his recent history at Bolton, once the pressure ratcheted up a notch, the â€œGinger Mourinhoâ€ responded with some impressive results.
The defeats to Sunderland and Hull in Boltonâ€™s opening two games were compounded when the Trotters outplayed Liverpool in their third game of the campaign and still lost. Arguably the turning point came in the 3-2 win at Portsmouth which was more recently followed up by an impressive 3-1 home win over West Ham in the Carling Cup and a 2-1 victory at St Andrews last week.
Without a Premier League home win so far in 2009/2010, Bolton should welcome this fixture as they havenâ€™t lost to Spurs at home in the league since March 1996 when goals from David Howells, Ruel Fox and Chris Armstrong made the game safe despite two late goals from Alan Stubbs and Scott Sellars.
Bolton have won six out the last seven home league meetings against Tottenham and you can be sure Kevin Davies will be licking his lips in anticipation of the visit from the Lillywhites. The 32-year-old striker scored two in this fixture last season in a 3-2 win and will be eager to add to his solitary Premier League goal this campaign.
The danger man for Bolton at the moment is undoubtedly Israeli Tamir Cohen (4/1 to score) who has claimed three goals in his last four matches in the league. Alongside Matthew Taylor (10/3 to score), Cohen is turning into a match winner for Megson and his goals could be crucial come the end of the season.
Ivan Klasnic (9/1 to score first) will also be eager to get off the mark for his new club and Gary CahillÂ (14/1 to score & Bolton win) will also be looking to prove that he is worth 20 million pounds, as Megson claimed this week with interest reportedly from Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs. The Bolton manager may also reward Lee Chung-Yung (33/1 to score a brace) with starting berth after his winner at Birmingham.
Harry Redknappâ€™s main dilemma is who play up front. It would seem likely that Peter Crouch will start as this is the type of physical game where he can make a real difference. Robbie Keane scored four against Burnley last week so if Jermain Defoe shakes off the finger dislocations he picked up last week, â€˜Arry has a major selection headache. (9/4 for either Crouch or Keane to score first.)
Michael Dawson should also come into contention after making his comeback at Preston in the Carling Cup as Redknapp looks to repel the direct football that has so often been the undoing of Tottenham at the Reebok Stadium.( Spurs are 13/10 to keep a clean sheet.)
The 3-2 defeat at Bolton last January affected the Spurs manager, he recently said: “I remember losing at Bolton last year, getting beaten and looking at the bench. I think two of them were asleep with hats pulled down and blankets over them. I said ‘I’m sorry to drag you up here, I know it’s f****** cold and you could be home with the missus with a cup of tea. It’s hard for 30 grand a week to watch a game’!
Having started the season so well, but still recording defeats to Chelsea and Manchester United, this game will tell us about Redknappâ€™s team. If Tottenham are not up for the fight their poor record at the Reebok will continue but if they compete with the likes of Davies and Cahill, there is no doubting their attacking talent can secure all three points.
101gg predicts: Bolton 2 â€“ Tottenham 2 (12/1)
Full match odds here.