Well, we don’t go to Leicester any more, do we? We need to freshen our songs up, much as we needed to freshen the squad up in January. We have some impressive ‘like a new signing‘s coming back, but as I start this preview the only new blood is destined to pep our our ailing reserves by the look of it. Still, let me offer a warm ‘holic welcome to Thomas Eisfeld from Dortmund who has slotted in like a modern day Alberto Mendez.
The new month will start with us up north on a very Eisy feld indeed. Bolton, on a Wednesday night in sub-zero temperature, will tell us a great deal about the desire and fabled ‘mental strength’ of our side. It is the final visit to the pie-munching trilogy after we scored four at Wigan and conceded four at Blackburn. It is a game that on paper should yield a result, but sometimes the paper can be torn up under such circumstances.
I have to say if all that sounds a little gloomy it isn’t meant to. I’m just preparing an escape route should we run into a dead-end. The events of Sunday should have raised the feel-good factor and the likely return of Bacary Sagna and Mikel Arteta, two ‘like a new signing‘s, should add to that level of confidence. Kieran Gibbs started training again today and hopefully will be available to swell that number of nearly-new faces by Saturday.
Before I check on the Bolton news I shall dive into the latest deadline day speculation. The latest news centres around Northampton Town, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City, and Watford. With five Premiership games kicking off it is looking unlikely there will be any further movement for us before eleven, but we shall see.
Now the main Bolton news concerns a new signing who cannot make his Trotters debut against us. Following on from Jack Wilshere’s spell at the Reebok a couple of years back, we have loaned Ryo Myaichi to our next opponents. That should be a good move for him, as they will surely be able to give him more games than we can at the moment, being behind Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the pecking order. A relegation battle was the making of Jack, and hopefully Ryo will toughen up over the coming four months.
The home side may even benefit from the loss of Cahill to Chelsea. He spent the first half of the season looking like a player who had his eyes on being elsewhere. The Coyle effect seems to be growing as they recover from a diastrous start. The agricultural Robinson and Kevin Davies are likely to start on what will be a very cold bench indeed. In January Bolton got out of the bottom three by defeating both Merseyside clubs and advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup by beating the impressive Swansea at the weekend.
We have turned the tables on them to a degree, by becoming their bogey club in recent seasons, but lest we forget the one stain on that formbook came in this corresponding fixture last season, when our fading title challenge was effectively ended by a last minute Cohen header.
Before I reveal the destination of the ‘holic pound I’ll just double check there is no unexpected transfer news to bring you. Grimsby have signed someone from Hayes and Yeading, and York have signed someone from Sheffield United. It looks as though Harrods has shut for the night leaving the footballing equivalent of Aldi and Lidl to snaffle what trade is about.
So, the all important nugget. A potentially tight and dour battle is looming, but I have to fancy us to win it. It’s part of the job description. I fancy us for maybe 0-2, and you will need to shop around for 8’s or 9’s against that. I’ll have a little back up with Gunners Gaming on a draw at half-time with us winning in the second-half at 7/2.
To those hardy souls making the trip, wrap up warm and take the large hip flask with you. I think you’ll be doing a lot of jumping, clapping and singing just to keep warm. For once, I am not all that jealous being an old fella with thin blood! For the rest of you, good luck with that stream hunt. I’ll have a battery of machines up hunting down the action here.
Take care ‘holics.
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