The Opposition: Bolton Wanderers

Last updated : 21 May 2009 By Mof Gimmers

The Gameplan
Tough call. Now we're safe, it'll be interesting to see if Meggo has the will to experiment. 4-4-2 has been toyed with in matches, but with mixed results. The unconventional 4-3-3 (swiftly reverting to a 4-5-1 or 1-1-8 if needed) has worked the best with any sort of regularity.

Our style of play will no doubt be referred to as 'robust', 'big' and 'physical' which may have been true once, but a little off the mark this season. In Super Kevin Davies, there's no doubt we have a man with a 'robust' style of play, but elsewhere in the team we've got a bunch who aren't exactly thugs. As for the style itself... it could be high-tempo football, played down the wings or just as easily be a Play It Safe and Knock It Around And Hope For A Counter Attack. It really depends which Bolton turn up.

That said, we'll be more relaxed now, which could see a goalscoring performance from big-money signing Elmander, who has impressed in every area, apart from goal scoring. The fact we're on easy-street for the run-in could make us quite dangerous. That said, I feel that as this game means a lot more to your lot, you'll be the ones dictating the tempo.

When we're in the mood, we're as good as anyone. Then again, how many teams say that? Our strengths can be found in particular players. Jussi is one of the best keepers in Europe and can frustrate opposing teams no end. In Gary Cahill, we've got one of the finest young centre halves in the league. If the press are to be believed, Arsenal are sniffing 'round which has seen Megson slap a hefty price tag on him. Even though he's still a young lad, he genuinely is the real deal. Going forward, Matty Taylor and Kevin Davies have been great this year, chipping in with vital goals. We've also seen a lot of promise from young Mark Davies who, if back to full fitness, could be a real thorn in your side all afternoon. We've youth and experience throughout the side, which, when firing on all cylinders, can be a real problem for the opponents.

Sadly, this year, we've suffered from hesitancy. A failure to take games by the scruff of the neck has been too familiar for our liking. I'll wager that a decent percentage of our fans lay the blame squarely at Gary Megson's door - a manager who is often damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

While Cahill has been immense, we've had problems with finding a decent partner for him. Andy O'Brien is prone to nodding off about half way through the second half, seeing us conceeding a few far-post goals. A couple of injuries have resulted in us struggling for creativity in the middle of the park, leaving Elmo up front and running himself into the ground in the search for opportunities. Sometimes, we've been too easily snuffed out.

Only Joey O'Brien is out. Gardner is doubtful. No suspensions that I can think of... and we're meant to be a bunch of cloggers!

Player by Player
Presuming we don't put an experimental side out...

GK Jussi - Great goalkeeper in every respect.
FB Steinsson - Erratic this season, prone to brilliance. Prone to complete biegeness.
FB Samuel - Ever present this season and regaining the form that saw him so loved at Villa.
CB Cahill - Great, intelligent defender who seems to be getting better.
CB O'Brien - Functional. Big nose.
M McCann - Split personality. Zinedine McCann is industrious and tidy, Genghis McKhan is a brute.
M Taylor - Busy with an eye for goal.
M Muamba - Breaks up play effectively... but one of the worst shooters of a ball in Bolton Wanderers' long history.
AM K. Davies - The Master.
AM M. Davies - The Apprentice.
CF Elmander - A smart cookie who doesn't get the support he needs. Could score a hat-trick and pull your back four to pieces. Then again, could be anonymous.

Written by Mof Gimmers of