Yesterday’s football was certainly interesting. United’s cruise past Burnley was perhaps unsurprising given the change in leadership at Burnley, not to mention their appalling away record (one point all season), but Chelsea turned on the style against a Sunderland side so lacking in the fight we saw a couple of months ago, putting seven past them. Even more noticeable was the appalling display of Lorik Cana, last summer’s great answer, who was at fault for at least four of the goals.
While the teams ahead of us impressed, those behind faltered. Spurs drew a blank against Hull, City lost to an improving Everton, and Liverpool lumbered from awful to hilarious by conceding another late equaliser at Stoke. The Anfield faithful are loyal, but Benitez must now be on borrowed time, not least because he appears to have lost the plot entirely, acting incredibly childishly in all his dealings with the press.
All of which brings us to our double header with a Bolton side looking to impress Owen Coyle, who denied us three points on our last away day while still in charge of Burnley. Playing a side with a new boss is always tricky, playing them in his first two matches in charge is a cruel twist of the fixture computer.
It starts at the Reebok today, a ground the media like to suggest we still struggle at, ignoring our upturn in fortunes in recent years. The revolving door of injuries continues, with Cesc and Clichy returning, only for Denilson and Ramsey to miss out. I hope our medical team are being paid well.
The team once again picks itself. The back four should remain unchanged, as will the front three. Diaby will sit in midfield, with Cesc and Rosicky providing the attacking options. Even with a revitalised Bolton, it should be enough to claim three points, although you’d be tempted to accept four points from this week if offered it now.
That said, we claimed the double over them last season, so I’m optimistically backing a win this afternoon. Three bets have been placed – a 3-1 win at 11/1, four goals or more in the match (bear in mind we haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home since Fulham) at 17/10, and Cesc to mark his return with a goal at 12/5.
I have a good feeling. Enjoy the game, wherever you are.