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Bolton v Manchester United Preview: We’re Be Tested But We Should Win

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Manchester Untied play Bolton on Saturday at the Reebok in an evening kick-off that will no doubt be one of the stand-out fixtures this weekend in the Premier League.

Despite losing two out of their opening three games, Bolton have started the season quite well. They certainly deserved to lose to Liverpool last time out at Anfield, but were unlucky to lose at home to Manchester City the previous week when individual mistakes cost them at least a point.

Bolton have always been a tricky team for the top teams to beat the Reebok and although we have only lost once there in the League since they got promoted in 2001, our defence have certainly come away knowing that they’ve been in a game.

Certainly both sets of players will be confident of getting a result this weekend after the International break. There’s nothing Owen Coyle would want more than to frustrate his fellow Scot in Sir Alex Ferguson by becoming the first side to take points off United this season.

United though will be confident of avoiding a repeat of last year’s performance in this fixture where we were fortunate (that’s an understatement) to come away with a point thanks to Michael Owen’s late equaliser. Bolton had been by far the better team and but for a dreadful miss by Johan Elmander – when they were leading 2-1 – would have deservedly won the game.

It’s vital tomorrow that we start the game well and if we get an early goal, it could make a few of Bolton’s heads go down. It’s vital though that if we do go ahead we get a second goal, just for insurance as Coyle’s men no doubt will grow in confidence if they are still in the game, so to speak.

So what can we expect from tomorrow’s game. What will be the key battles on the pitch? 

Phil Jones v Kevin Davies

United new boy Phil Jones has started the season in an impressive manner. He may have been disappointed this week not to make his England debut this week, but has a testing week ahead to look forward to, to make up for that.

Kevin Davies may not be the most lethal forward in the league, but his aggressive style of play tests defenders up and down the country, week in and week out and Jones will have to keep a close eye on him to ensure Bolton’s skipper has a quiet game. If he can do that, it will go a long way to helping United get a win this weekend.

Anderson v Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba is certainly developing into a good top-flight midfielder and there’s no doubt his game has improved since Coyle took over at Bolton in January last year. At 23 years old, his potential is beginning to come through which is good to see.

Anderson interestingly enough is only a week older than Muamba and the battle between United’s Brazilian who has started the season brilliantly will be a very close one for sure. Anderson looks extremely confident this season but he must not let Muamba settle as the tall midfielder is dangerous at setting up attacks for Bolton.

Wayne Rooney v Gary Cahill

Arguably the star of Bolton’s team this season has been Gary Cahill. The defender starred for England in their 3-0 win against Bulgaria last week and bagged the opener in an impressive all-round performance which suggested Spurs and Harry Redknapp should have gone all-out to buy him last month.

Wayne Rooney though also impressed in Sofia and scored England’s two other goals. Make no mistake about it, Rooney and Cahill will be bitter enemies this weekend and our talisman will have a battle on his hands this weekend. Still though he should have the class and experience to be able to score or create a goal or two – we hope!

In terms of a prediction for the game tomorrow, as I stated earlier on in a predictions article, I can see United winning the game 3-1 and can see Rooney scoring. Who knows he may repeat what he did early on in the 2006/07 season when he bagged a hat-trick. I wouldn’t rule that out the way he’s playing!

It will be important for us to start the game well and the way we’ve been playing this season, there’s no reason why we can’t score early on against Bolton who even with Gary Cahill be have alot of work defensively to do this weekend.

Conceding a goal early on (not that it goes without saying) is a big ‘no-no’ and it’s vital that our defence start the game well. Last year we started badly  and it was no surprise when Zat Knight put Bolton ahead from a corner. It’s vital that our defence are sensible early on and deal with any balls into the area and ensure David De Gea in goal is not ‘pushed about’ like he was in our opening-day win a West Brom

Bolton though will put us under pressure in this game and as long as they are still ‘in’ the game with 15-20 minutes to go will grow in confidence and put pressure on us which we will not need. If we take the lead, it’s vital we score a second and wrap the game up and with the quality we have in midfield, there’s no reason why we can’t do that.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87