Manchester United vs Bolton preview

January 13, 2012
By: Frank Beresford

After ending their two-match run with the FA Cup victory over Manchester City, Manchester United should have an easy job against struggling Bolton.

However, the Trotters managed to restore some of the lost confidence as they beat Everton away and they now hope to produce an upset at Old Trafford as well.

Manchester United found themselves in real problems following the back to back defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle, making their FA Cup derby against Manchester City even more important.

The return of talismanic midfielder Paul Scholes appears to have helped the Red Devils kick-start their season, although Vincent Kompany’s sending off early into the game had a huge effect on the outcome of the match.

Even so, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men restored much of the lost confidence by beating their bitter rivals and are now hot favourites to win their Premier League clash with Bolton.

Despite the obvious difference in quality between the two sides, odds of 1.17 (1/6) offered by Paddy Power on home win do not look too tempting.

Nemanja Vidic, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Michael Owen and Darren Fletcher continue to miss out, but Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have returned.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Lindegaard – Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra – Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Nani – Rooney – Welbeck.

Things have not gone as planned for Bolton this season as the Trotters had a disappointing start to the league campaign, which is the main reason why they are still in the relegation zone.

Owen Coyle’s side showed a lot of improvement on the travels, with back to back wins over Blackburn and Everton giving the team a much needed confidence boost, but their performance at Reebok Stadium remain a problem.

The Trotters currently boast the worst home record in the elite division, having lost 8 of 10 home games this season, so maybe it’s not a bad thing that this game is played at Old Trafford, especially considering the proximity of the two cities.

Seeing that United lost their last two home games and that Bolton won their last two away matches, the odds of 5.50 (9/2) offered by Stan James on Bolton not to lose could be worth a shot.

Gary Cahill is likely to start as his proposed move to Chelsea hasn’t been completed yet, but Lee, Holden, Mears, Davis and Alonso remain long-term worries. Keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is not yet ready to feature.

Probable starting line-up (4-5-1): Bogdan – Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts – Eagles, Reo-Coker, Davies, Muamba, Petrov – Ngog.

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