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Bolton: 2010 Team Preview | Odds

English Premier League – Bolton 2010 Preview

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Odds to win the 2010-11 Premiership outright: 2000/1

Headed for relegation Bolton sacked manager Gary Megson and made a sharp 180-degree turn in the second half of the season to finish the 2009-10 English Premier campaign in 14th spot, just nine points clear of the drop zone.

After new boss Owen Coyle’s controversial decision to leave Burnley for a move to local rivals Bolton midway through last season, the Trotters seemed rejuvenated, playing with more energy and appeared to be a much better club than under Megson’s reign.

It was a move that drew much criticism in Lancashire, as Burnley fell back into the Championship at the end of year.

Now the question is, can Coyle recreate the magic from last season propelling Bolton to a better finish, and perhaps a shot at a Europa or Champions League placing. Or even better yet, some EPL hardware, as Bolton has spent the highest number of seasons (71) in the elite ranks without winning a title.

If so, the Trotters will need to do two things.

One; they need to start the season better than they did in their prior year’s campaign. With timely matches against Fulham, West Ham, and Birmingham City – two of whom they took points from last year – the side has a firm opportunity to snatch some important early points. Good for a club that netted just 39 points for the entire 2009-10 season. Bet on Soccer at Sportsbook.com

They will need to do better than this to succeed, and getting ahead from the beginning can establish an early tone.

Two; will be Coyle’s ability to not only keep and motivate his returning players, but bring on fresh talent in an attempt to raise the Wanderers goal scoring capabilities from a middle-of-the-road 42.

Check. It will all start in the midfield and Coyle’s commitment to passing football looks set to continue following the signings of finesse players Martin Petrov and Robbie Blake.

Petrov, who was extremely unhappy at Manchester City, will now get to play everyday with Bolton and hopefully regain the form he once possessed with Wolfsburg. Petrov should meet expectations, but he will also need to have his team play strong around him for everything to work out.

He will get that help from veteran striker/midfielder Robbie Blake, a former player of Coyle’s during his stint at Burnley, that was also brought over during the transfer window.

But isn’t just the offense that Coyle is reinforcing. He is also looking to improve upon the 67 goals he Trotters conceded last year, 4th most in the league.

Besides veteran defenders Gary Cahill and Samuel Ricketts, the defense will get some upgrades, including the signing of 19-year old Marcos Alonso. The Real Madrid wing back will bring some young legs to he backline but has also been known to have the skill sets to help out as a defensive midfielder.

Finally, it appears at the moment that the Wanderers will go with Finish keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen between the sticks, as second choice Ali Al Habsi has departed for Wigan.

Bolton 2010 Prediction: My guess is that Bolton will continue to improve under Coyle, and most likely avoid the drop zone at the end of the season. Look for the Trotters to place in the top 15.

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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. “ Football (soccer) is a game in which a handful of fit men run around for one and a half hours watched by millions of people who could really use the exercise.”

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