English Premier League Match Preview: West Ham United versus Bolton Wanderers
West Ham United are all set to take on Bolton Wanderers at Upton Park in their second league match of the season. West Ham are currently going through a bad run of form, as they lost their first league match of the season against Aston Villa by a score line of three goals to nil.
There are some worries brewing up for West Ham before this match. Firstly, they look short on scoring power. In their first league match against Villa, West Ham hardly created anything and looked like an impotent strike force. Secondly, their goal keeper looks like a deer caught between the headlights every time the ball comes towards him from a wide position. Robert Green, who is the first choice goal keeper for the Hammers, went to the World Cup with England but his experiences at the world’s largest football competition were forgettable to say the least.
It seems as if, his memories from the FIFA 2010 World Cup still trouble him and thus English international has found it hard to concentrate on his job between the posts. On the other hand, Bolton Wanderers opened their league campaign with a goal less draw against Fulham, who finished as Europa league finalists last year.
Bolton have arguably strengthened their squad with an impressive signing of the Bulgarian reject from Manchester City in shape of Martin Petrov. The traditional left winger is set to start for Bolton again after performing well on his debut against Fulham in the English Premier League. Both of the teams did considerably well in their pre-season games before the league season started. West Ham achieved a win against Peterborough United and Bolton Wanderers also managed to win against Osasuna Pamplona in their pre-season encounter.
Last season, this corresponding fixture ended up in a win for Bolton, as West Ham only scored a single goal in reply to Bolton’s two on the day. However, this might be a different story as West Ham will be looking to bounce back under their relatively new manager, Avram Grant, who is still working on the individuals at the club to form a team with good understanding and discipline.
For their match against Bolton, West Ham will be without their midfield pair of Thomas Hitztsperger and the Swiss international Behrami. This means that most probably, Scott Parker and Mark Noble will start for the Hammers in central midfield positions. West Ham United are also keeping a close eye on their unfit and overweight striker Benny McCarthy, who has reportedly lost one kilogram of weight over the past week.
Avram Grant is also in deep thought over the decision to give Pablo Barrera and Frederic Piquionne their first starts in a West Ham shirt after the due came on to good effect against Aston Villa, last Saturday. In the presently open transfer window, Grant signed Piquionne from Portsmouth, a club where Avram himself was previously in charge.
Conversely, Bolton have no injury or selection problems as they travel to London with a fully fit squad. Their manager, Owen Coyle will be looking to get their first three points of the season against West Ham. Both the English clubs have already released their squad lists for the fixture which is scheduled to be held on 21st of August, 2010. The kick off is supposed to take place at 15:00 hrs GMT. If West Ham wins this game, it will be their first win over Bolton Wanderer’s since 5th May, 2007. Whereas for Bolton, it will be their seventh straight win against West Ham United in head to head fixtures.
Avram Grant will be under pressure for this match, as the Hammer’s board of directors as well as the fans will not be in any mood to see their team lose second match in a row, right at the start of the English league season. For Owen Coyle, anything from this game will be a job well done, as Bolton are renowned to be quite horrible in their away games from the Reebok Stadium.