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Bolton v. Aston Villa

DV831071 Rumors have been flying this week of Daniel Sturridge hinting at a Bolton stay. Based on how he's started for us, it would be a very welcome move. However, it seems as though people are reading way too far into a quote of his about how he likes playing 90 minutes and scoring goals (what footballer doesn't). Just a word of warning to those getting excited: he doesn't have that Bolton Wanderers tramp stamp... yet.

This might be a bit of a reach but here goes: surely some of you remember in the Halo video game, ten kills in a row would earn you a “Running Riot” badge. That’s what Villa have done to Bolton Wanderers in recent times. Ruthless.

Bolton have not beaten Aston Villa at the Reebok since the 2002/2003 season . This fixture in the last three seasons has brought results of 0-1, 1-1, 1-1, and 2-2. The match to Villa away is where we usually get done in with scores of 5-1, 4-2, and 4-0 in the last three seasons. The Trotters did manage a point away with a 1-1 draw earlier in the season.

It’s no secret that Aston Villa are not the same team this year that they have been in the past and are struggling a bit. They currently occupy 12th place in the table, just 5 points behind Bolton who are in 7th. A win for the Wanderers can see them leapfrog Liverpool to 6th place (until Liverpool play on Sunday, anyway) but a loss and other results going against them could see Bolton fall all the way to 10th (given that Stoke wins by a large enough margin).

Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant run of form continued last weekend as he scored his 4th goal in 4 games. He can’t keep this up forever though and it would be nice to see Kevin Davies or Johan Elmander return to their scoring ways at the weekend. Aston Villa players do however love scoring on Bolton. Gabriel Agbonlahor has 4 goals in 5 games against BWFC, Ashley Young with 5 in 5, and Darren Bent with an absolutely staggering 10 in 10.

Some hope though: Villa have dropped 12 points from winning positions this year (the most in the Premiership). Aston Villa only have one win against teams in the top-half of the table while Bolton have lost just two games of 16 at the Reebok this season in all competitions (to Liverpool and Chelsea).

This fixture is likely to see Gretar Steinsson’s return to the bench for Bolton but we look to be getting more and more depth back as the season progresses. Joey O’Brien, Ricardo Gardner’ and Jlloyd Samuel have all been participating in matches and will likely return soon. Aston Villa will be without Carlos Cuellar, James Collins, and Jean Makoun but Darren Bent will return to the lineup after being cup-tied midweek.

Let’s get three very big points, you White Men!