You never think of Bolton as a ‘big club’. I guess in stature and history they aren’t. However Big Sam has created a tough, physical but also very capable team who can – and do – give any team a run for their money. Whilst us Villa fans ‘think’ we should be up there Bolton ‘are’ up there and having only lost one game (in all comps) out of their last ten, Villa are up against it on Saturday.
Aaron Hughes says: ‘As a defender you know you’re in for a busy afternoon at the Reebok Stadium. Bolton get a lot of balls into the box and they keep you on your toes. We have to be well organised and up for everything. We saw what they can do in the first game of the season – especially in the first few minutes of the game.’
O’Leary says: ‘Bolton play in the ‘land of the giants’If you play well at Bolton, we can breach Fortress Reebok. ‘We got the desire and the application…We’ll need it doubly immensely against this ‘mob’ tomorrow.This will be a great test for them. From anywhere inside their own half they can throw it into your box.So we need to be strong.’
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Allardyce isn’t expected to make any changes to the team that beat Arsenal 2-0 last weekend. Henrik Pedersen is still suffering from an Achilles injury. (from): Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, N’Gotty, Ben Haim, Gardner, Faye, Nolan, Speed, Giannakopoulos, Diouf, Davies, Jaidi, Vaz Te, Walker, Okocha, Fadiga, Nakata, Borgetti.
Player to watch: Kevin Nolan.
New team captain and in the goals this season.
Aston Villa Team News:
Phillips has been ruled out and won’t travel with the team tomorrow having gone over on his ankle in training last Monday. Hopefully Luke Moore will start instead of the out of form Angel. Milner can return having missed the game v his ‘owner club’ Newcastle. Delaney is still injured although is back in training. Lee Hendrie is pushing for a place and 20 year old midfielder Steven Davis might be rested. (from): Sorensen, Taylor, Hughes, Delaney, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Bouma, McCann, Milner, Hendrie, Davis, De La Cruz, Jumper Jumper, Barry, Baros, Angel, Moore.
Player to watch: Milan Baros.
Play the blinking ball to his feet and create something for him to feed off, then he’ll score. Keep hoofing it in his direction and we’ve no chance against a very big back four.
Match Facts & Stats
Villa are 15th with 16 points.
Best case (realistically): 13th
Worst case: 17th
Current form league: 15th
Last six games: L L L W W D
Away form league: 2 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses.
Bolton are 6th with 26 points.
Best case: 3rd
Worst case: 8th
Current form league: 6th
Last six games: L W W W L W
Home form league: 4th, 5 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Aston Villa (Diouf 21) (McCann 41, Hitzlsperger 89)
This season at Villa Park: Villa 2-2 Bolton (Phillips 4, Davis 9) (Davies 6, Campo 8)
Premiership record in total: Bolton 3 wins, Villa 6 wins, Draws 4
Prem record at Bolton: Bolton 2 wins, Villa 3 wins, Draws 1
Ref Watch: Phil Dowd, 10 matches, 2 reds, 38 yellows.
Mystic Mug has thrown a wobbly and said Villa have no chance. 2-0 Bolton.
17/12/2005 MANCHESTER UNITED (12.45pm Sky PPV)
26/12/2005 EVERTON (5.15pm, Sky)