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Bolton v. Everton

So yes I realise I've been a horrible horrible blogger recently. And I apologise profusely for letting you down. I play for a rugby club in my spare time, which does not leave much time for the lengthy research and writing that this blog requires, but don't dismay! My rugby season will probably be over after this weekend (I can almost hear your sighs of relief, it's touching), so I'll be posting much more regularly. I'm not sure when/if I'll get the chance to do a report (I'm going to the women's national tournament in Boston, wish us luck!), so let's hope this is a brilliant preview to make up for it! Now on to football.

This weekend provides us with 3 more northwest derbies (there are 7 northwest teams in the Prem). Everton are making the daunting (and I say that with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek) 40 mile trip to the Reebok. This is a bit of a clash of the has-beens (and I hope Everton fans will forgive me for saying that). Both Bolton and Everton used to be amongst the most respected teams in the league, granted Everton much more recently than Bolton, and both had a horrifying start to the season. However both have also picked up their broken form and mended it a bit, though Everton more so than Bolton. Everton's last six league result have been DDWWWL, while Bolton have LDWDWL.

Bolton have a nightmare run of fixtures this October (Tottenham, Manchest United, Everton, Chelsea twice, Aston Villa), and Everton at home just may be a golden chance to pick up points. Everton's last game against newly promoted Wolves was not an overly inspiring performance, although it picked up quite a bit in the second half. Despite the Toffees lack of convincing attacks, if you've watched Bolton at all this season (and yes I am among the unfortunate few who have), you know Bolton have one of the least convincing back four in the league. Though it looks fairly good on paper (Jlloyd Samuel, Gary Cahill, Zat Knight, and Sam Ricketts) it is absolutely horrorshow on the pitch. They don't mark the man, and if they are there's three of them on one player leaving the goal completely open. Granted half of them (Knight and Ricketts) have only been with Bolton for 10 games, but still you would think that they could learn to play together in that time period. You'd be wrong.

On a similar note, can anyone see any reason at all to start Ricketts ahead of Gretar Steinsson? Steinsson was one of the most reliable players last season, had a great work rate, and made a lot of chances with his lovely long balls. Ricketts has been wholly unconvincing to me, making at least 2 or 3 mistakes that even I couldn't make every game (and trust me when I say I am complete rubbish at football. Probably worse than 'Arry's missus).

This is definitely one of those games that could go either way. And by either way I mean Bolton will either lose or draw. I very much doubt that Bolton will come away with the three points we very much need, however it's pretty possible we could sneak a draw out.

UPDATE: Here the link to the BBC I promised. Be sure to pop on over for a collection of semi-pertinent statistics.