Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Season Summaries--18. Bolton

18. Bolton Wanderers (My preseason prediction: 9th)

Wow, talk about a team that I overestimated. To be honest, I wasn't aware just how much a manager means to a team and Sam Allardyce's departure for Newcastle has left Bolton in a huge rut. The current squad is comprised of largely the same group of players that played for Allardyce the last few seasons, when they finished in the top 8, but an awful 14-game stint (end of last season, start of this season) cost Sammy Lee his managerial post and now Gary Megson is in charge. Megson has proven that he's a good Championship and lower league-caliber manager, but he can't cut it in the Premiership.

Bolton have also yet to win away from Reebok Stadium this season (2 draws, 4 losses), and with star striker Nicholas "Le Sulk" Anelka probably set to move to bigger and better things in the January transfer window, this club will be in big trouble because no one else can score goals regularly. It really doesn't get any easier in the near future either, with games against Manchester United, Liverpool, and Manchester City in the next four rounds of Premiership matches. Bolton's one hope this season, as it doesn't look good for them to stay up, is to have success in the UEFA Cup, where they've picked up two draws in two group games. They're in a group with Bayern Munich (they picked up a crucial point in Munich on the 8th), Sporting Braga, Thessaloniki, and Red Star Belgrade. You have to like their chances to reach the knockout stages of this competition, but their main focus really needs to be on Premiership survival.

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