Top half challengers – Coyle can invigorate uninspiring Bolton
Owen Coyle is quite possibly the antithesis of his predecessor, Gary Megson, preferring to encourage a forward-thinking style of play and enthusing his players with a sense of ambition.
After his installation as manager at the start of January, Bolton picked up only a few more points than before the new year but in a more entertaining manner.
Such a bold move could either pay huge dividends, with a top six finish (as Bolton managed in 2005) only a 20/1 shot, or undermine Bolton’s mid-table security, with relegation only ever a few bad results away.
Jussi Jaaskelainen is already a Bolton legend, with this being his 14th season in between the sticks for the club. Usually an excellent shot stopper, last season he was prone to spilling easy shots.
Despite having a solid-looking backline, spearheaded by England hopeful Gary Cahill, only three teams conceded more goals in the Premier League than Bolton last season.
If they are to avoid relegation, they are 4/1 to go down, that number of 67 has to come down.
New defensive signing, 19-year-old Real Madrid left-back Marcos Alonso was bought for his potential going forward.
Coyle has done well to get Martin Petrov on a free – the Bulgarian is proven quality and should crack in a healthy dose of goals too.
Matthew Taylor bagged eight in the league last year and his set-piece prowess will be needed again, while Fabrice Muamba’s steel is essential.
Freebie Robbie Blake may still be able to produce the odd firecracker, but with Jack Wilshere back at Arsenal the midfield may lack a creative spark. They should have enough to win at home against Fulham on the opening day, though (5/4).
Along with Taylor, Ivan Klasnic was Bolton’s top league scorer last year, with eight. But he has returned to Nantes with Coyle saying it may prove too much to can get the Croatian striker back on loan. If that’s the case he will be sorely missed.
Johan Elmander has never really done it for the Trotters and while Kevin Davies is a nuisance for opposition defences, he’s hardly prolific – seven in 37 games last term. He is available for the Golden Boot, however, an improbable 125/1.
This season looks to be all about survival again for Bolton, and they must improve on a total of 42 goals last term if the season is to result in anything more positive. See the full Premier League betting market.