Manchester City v. Bolton

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For nearly 80 minutes last weekend, Blackpool thoroughly deserved to beat the Wanderers. The last 10 to 15 minutes were when Bolton turned on the style. A great turn and half-volley from Petrov pegged one back and then an absolutely wonderful team goal sealed the point. That team goal, a move that involved Kevin Davies, Johan Elmander, Ivan Klasnic, and a neat little backheeled pass, was the perfect metaphor for Bolton’s season thus far. Mark Davies even looked a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo. Not really in his play but the fact that his "tan" was just a little bit orange.

At the start of this round of fixtures, the Whites sit in 6th place in the table, three points behind this weekend’s opponent, Manchester City. The Blue sit 4th in the table on 26 points. They have not lost in six matches and are coming off a big mid-week win against Salzburg in the Europa League. They will be brimming with confidence. Manager Roberto Mancini is under fire, however, having only delivered two wins in the Premier League in November. Their two home fixtures last month both delivered 0-0 draws. City will be hungry for a win with a big margin.

One more note about the team wearing sky blue: The City of Manchester Stadium has been a fortress this season. City have lost just once there and allowed only 5 balls into the back of the net. Only Chelsea have been scored on fewer times at home this season.

Bolton haven’t lost in their last five and have scored 10 in their last three games but are facing an uphill battle. Stuart Holden, who the Whites very sorely missed in the midfield against Blackpool, is a doubt for the match. Holden strained his thigh in the warm-up before the Blackpool fixture and was a late scratch. Expect Mark Davies in the midfield again.

With nothing to do with this game but news has emerged this week that Bolton will likely be without Lee Chung-Yong for almost all of January as he will be called up by South Korea for the Asian Cup. It looks like BWFC will dive into the transfer market. So far, they’ve been linked with three names: Ivan Rakitic of Schalke, Curtis Davies of Aston Villa but on loan to Leicester City, and, in what is a bit of a reach, Joel Lindpere of Red Bull New York. Davies is lined up as a cheap replacement for Gary Cahill as it looks like the bids are just pouring in for our center back.

Finally, a hearty congratulations to Owen Coyle and Johan Elmander for winning the manager and player of the month awards, respectively.

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