Bolton Wanderers v West Ham
Saturday 21 February 2009,
Bolton Wanderers lost 3-0 away to Everton in their last league outing, and have won only a single match of their last seven league encounters.
In these last seven matches, Bolton have won one, drawn one, and lost five, earning just 4 points from a possible 21. To the Trotters’ credit, however, is the fact that all of these five losses came at the hands of teams in the top seven positions in the league. Bolton scored 5 goals and conceded 13 in these matches, and they currently sit 14th on the league ladder.
The Trotters are still without Gavin McCann (ankle/foot) and Ricardo Vaz Te (knee) on long-term injuries, but Johan Elmander, Joey O’Brien, Mark Davies, Nicky Hunt and Tamir Cohen could all return from their recent injury spells.
West Ham United lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United in their last league outing, ending a run of six matches without a loss.
In their last seven matches, West Ham have won four, drawn two and lost one, earning themselves 14 points from a possible 21. The Hammers scored 13 goals and conceded 6 in these seven matches, and they currently sit 8th in the league.
West Ham have been hit with a double bill of bad news with striker Dean Ashton set to miss the rest of the season due to his ankle injury, and the Hammers’ leading scorer this season, Carlton Cole, will be out for two weeks after he suffered an ankle sprain in West Ham’s disappointing midweek FA Cup draw against Middlesbrough.
The Hammers will also be without Kieron Dyer (hip), Daniel Gabbidon (hip), and Luis Boa Morte (groin).
Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham 3-1 earlier this season at Upton Park and also defeated the Hammers 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last season.
The loss earlier this season came at a time when West Ham were in terrible form, suffering four straight losses, but the Hammers’ have improved greatly since then after a string of impressive results in recent times that have left them genuine contenders for a place in next year’s UEFA Cup (which will be known as the UEFA Europa League).
However, the loss of Carlton Cole, who has scored 8 league goals for the Hammers this season, will greatly hurt the squad. Couple this with West Ham’s uninspired performance against Middlesbrough last weekend, and a match that would have looked to easily go West Ham’s way only a week ago could now be up in the air.
Bolton’s home form has been weak this season whilst West Ham’s away performances have been quite impressive. If David di Michele can continue with his recent goal-scoring form, and if West Ham can pick up where they left off in the Premier League, then this match should go the Hammers’ way.
However, if West Ham continue where they left off in last Saturday’s FA Cup draw against Middlesbrough, where coach Gianfranco Zola described his team’s performance as some of the "worst we have played recently", and if the absence of Carlton Cole leaves a massive gap at the front, then this match could easily end up as either a draw or a Bolton victory.
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