Bolton vs Stoke

April 16, 2011
By: John Hansen

Both teams have done great to reach the FA Cup semis, beating some very good Premiership sides in the process, but they now want a place in the final and a chance to fight for the coveted trophy. The game between Bolton and Stoke will be played at Wembley and everything suggests both sets of fans will witness an entertaining encounter.

Bolton still flying high

Bolton have made an unbelievable progress under Owen Coyle, and not only did the results improve this season, but the Trotters are also much more entertaining to watch. Bolton have long ago secured Premiership survival and are now fighting for the European places, with their FA Cup campaign nothing short of impressive. The Trotters have won last three rounds by playing away from home, with such a good away run almost unthinkable before Owen Coyle took over. This should give Bolton the upper hand over Stoke, since the Potters are simply awful away from home, and playing at Wembley definitely doesn’t feel like home. Add to that the superior quality of Bolton players and excellent team spirit and you will see why the Trotters are considered favourites in this clash. After losing to Manchester United and Birmingham, Bolton returned to winning ways in style, having beaten West Ham 3:0 and that was just the lift they needed before the FA Cup semi-final clash.

Daniel Sturridge is ineligible, having played for Chelsea in the competition, but Mark Davies returns from an ankle injury.

Stoke looking to cause an upset

Stoke’s success story is similar to that of Bolton, with Potters boss Tony Pulis the man behind club’s recent uptrend in fortunes. The experienced manager not only led the Potters to the Premiership, but he helped establish them as a genuine mid table side, as a result of which Stoke have had no problems avoiding the drop during the last three years. The Potters have done a great job this season as well, with the FA Cup success further improving the club’s profile, and they were lucky enough to avoid the Manchester rivals in the semis. However, with Bolton flying high this season, Tony Pulis’ men definitely face an uphill task at Wembley, especially as their performances away from home have been utterly disappointing. Stoke have lost 12 out of 16 league games this season, which means they don’t really have much to hope for in the clash with in-form Trotters.

Danny Higginbotham misses out with knee injury, while John Carew should play despite struggling with a back problem. Thomas Sorensen will start in goal.


Both teams have done great this season, but I cannot help but feel that Bolton are much closer to winning this game. The Trotters have been pretty impressive on the travels, unlike their next opponents and with the quality Owen Coyle has at his disposal, Bolton should be able to make it to the final.

Our prediction: Bolton to go through

Odds: 1.83 (5/6)

Bookmaker: William Hill

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