Monday, May 26, 2008

The off-season: Bolton Wanderers

As an Arsenal fan, I have a certain grudge against Bolton. They have been the scrouge of the Gunners, being resilient despite Arsenal's constant dominance in matches between the two sides. I think their way of playing of putting ten men behind the ball and hoofing the ball up towards Kevin Davies is not pleasing on the eye for many spectators. I think many fans, including Bolton ones, will not be dismayed if Bolton were relegated, as they nearly were last season.

GK: Jussi Jaaskalainen, Ali Al Habsi, Ian Walker

The Wanderers are in a funny situation this summer with their goalkeepers. With Walker and Jaaskalainen out of contract and Al Habsi disgruntled at not being given a chance, all the goalkeepers could stay or leave. They really should get rid of Walker since there is no need for a third goalkeeper in a squad without European competition. It is most likely Jaaskalainen will leave for fresher pastures, with Aston Villa and Spurs being touted as destinations.

RB: Nicky Hunt, Gretar Steinsson

With Steinsson coming in during January, Nicky Hunt has been pushed down the pecking order. It is most likely Joey O'Brien will be back-up for Steinsson whilst Nicky Hunt should move on.

LB: Jlloyd Samuel, Ricardo Gardner

Bolton have wisely offered Gardner a new contract but he is most likely have to play second fiddle to Samuel.

CB: Gary Cahill, Andy O'Brien, Abdoulaye Meite

The (second) most important area for Bolton to start searching for players. With Meite throwing a strop about not playing, he won't be at the Reebok stadium next season. Gary Megson will need two centre-backs to help Cahill and O'Brien but will have to find players willing need to backup this players and sit on the bench.

WG: Matt Taylor, Ricardo Vaz Te

With Bolton playing 4-5-1, they require less wingers than most teams but they still at least one winger with Guthrie going back to Liverpool, Stelios being let go and Diouf wanting to go to a team who actually challenges for trophies.

CM: Kevin Nolan, Gavin McCann, Blerim Dzemaili, Joey O'Brien, Tamir Cohen

This is Gary Megson's strongest area but they might require reinforcement if the likes of Dzemaili or Cohen leave, as they haven't played that often.

FW: Kevin Davies, Heidar Helgusson, Daniel Braatan, El Hadj Diouf

If Bolton are to stay up, they will require at least two more forwards to supply the goals. Diouf has already stated he wants to leave whilst Helgusson and Braatan haven't performed that well to merit a place in the first eleven.


In: Goalkeeper x 1, Centre-back x 2, Winger x 1, Forward x 2
Out: Jaaskalainen, Walker, Hunt, Meite, Helgusson, Braatan

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