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Match Previews Bolton v Stoke

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Can this man give us the magic touch?
So I actually did get time to do a preview, you lucky ducks! I've used the handy BBC Premiership Predictor, a wonderful piece of web design where you can enter your expected results and see how it affects the table. Perfect for wasting time if you're at work/school and don't actually want to do something (I am a champion procrastinator, in fact I should be doing math homework as I type this). At any rate I entered a series of slightly optimistic results and if my slightly optimistic results are accurate, Bolton could rise from 18th to 12th after this weekend (scroll down to see the predicted results I entered). This would be incredibly excellent as even this early in the season I hate being in the relegation zone.

Stoke have won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2 so far this season (this is excluding their FA Cup win against Leyton Orient, it is Leyton Orient after all), which is markedly better than Bolton's 1 draw and 3 losses, however I think last weekend's win against Portsmouth will have rallied the team. Things have not been too happy over at the Reebok, what with all the booing fans, and Megson's soulless gingerness and we definitely need to win at home (hopefully in front of people this time, our attendances have been exceedingly poor this season), things are getting too depressing. And an interesting, if fairly meaningless statistic: Stoke have not won a top flight game at the Reebok ever, and the last time they won away to the Wanderers was in 1963 at Burnden Park.

This has quite a bit to do with Stoke's horrendous away form (last season they only got 10 points from away matches, only 6 of those 10 points were from wins). They are quite dangerous from set pieces which is definitely one of our weaknesses so we'll have to watch out for that. I am pretty optimistic about this match, I reckon at the very least we can get a point, and fingers crossed for three. Ricardo Gardner should be coming back from injury and when he's in form he adds so much to our ability to go forward with his wonderful long balls and connecting play. Hopefully we get another win and buoyed for our trip to Birmingham (doesn't everyone need to be buoyed before a trip to Birmingham? It's a pretty depressing city*) next weekend.

Saturday: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan, Aston Villa 1-0 Portsmouth, Bolton 2-1 Stoke, Burnley 1-1 Sunderland, Hull 0-0 Birmingham, West Ham 1-2 Liverpool
Sunday: Chelsea 3-2 Tottenham, Everton 2-1 Blackburn, Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City, Wolverhampton 1-3 Fulham

*Disclaimer: I'm sure Birmingham is perfectly nice if you're not just zipping by it on the motorway. I don't want to offend any Brummies.