Merry Christmas everyone! Sorry for all the exclamation points, clearly the Christmas wine has gone to my head, all I can hope is that you've indulged a bit as well and will return my enthusiasm! Okay bubbly introduction officially over. Onto football, and tomorrow brings us a Boxing Day fixture against Burnley (link included for my darling American readers).
Burnley have been quite a bit of fun to watch this season, and of course everyone loves the underdog. I've liked Burnley ever since I heard that the local butcher had made a 6 foot long sausage for the goalkeeper, Jensen, named The Beast, after the keeper, as a celebration for promotion. Which is seriously cute. Oh and this story.
Their form this season has been really unreliable, at home they've produced some great results (beating Manchester United, draw with Arsenal), but away they've suffered some pretty comprehensive beatings (5-0 to Tottenham comes to mind). Owen Coyle (who helped Bolton win promotion back in the early 90's) has nurtured his little Clarets up to 14th in the table, quite impressive for a newly promoted side, and now that Christmas has come around it's time to start assessing their depth. This is arguably the tightest year the Premiership has seen, the best teams are as good, and the worst teams are really much better, so It all could well come down to a few points separating those clubs relegated and those in mid-table.
Which means, as Coyle himself said, "Every game in this league is a big game." Teams like Burnley (and Blackburn, can you hear the bitterness?) are the ones Bolton need to take points off of if they want to survive. We are currently in the relegation zone, but we do have 2 games in hand and a better goal difference than the 6 teams above us. I reckon it'll just take a quick string of wins (famous last words eh?) and Bolton will zoom right up the table.
As has been the case for quite a while, this result will depend on which Bolton comes out to play. If the more recent Bolton (as seen against City and West Ham) comes out this could be a good match and a secure 3 points. I won't enumerate the other scenario, I'm sure you can imagine it, but let's just cross our fingers for the first one eh? Till my match report!