An hour ago, in the preview poll 71% of you voted the final result would be a Villa win. Since then, the spread has dropped a bit and now only 57% of you think this. Regardless, there is no doubt that Bolton spirit is low for this match. It seems to be a breaking point. With the return of Stu Holden, some still have hope, but if we sink to defeat again, this may be a longer season than we expected. Lineups under the jump!*
Aston Villa: Given, Warnock, Dunne, Collins, Hutton, Petrov, Bannan, Ireland, Delfouneso, Albrighton, Agbonlahor
Bench: Guzan, Beye, Delph, N'Zogbia, Burke, Lowry
McLeish is giving his youth a run out, but this isn't strikingly different from the side that faced Newcastle at the weekend. Shay Given has been in a great run of form and will prove a challenge to get anything past, and they do have their own Petrov in midfield to contend with. This could be a good match.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Cahill, Gardner, Eagles, Muamba, Holden, Pratley, Kakuta, Ngog
Bench: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Tuncay, Petrov, K. Davies, M. Davies, Blake
What about that? Coyle is not only ditching his beloved 4-4-2 for a 4-5-1, but in the process he's brought in 9 changes. Normally when someone says that in a Carling Cup match, it's because the manager is resting his first team and throwing out the reserves, but it would be difficult to claim that here. A midfield manned by Muamba, Holden, and Pratley sounds quite strong, with the obvious job delegation of Muamba at the defensive end, Stu pulling the strings, and Pratley going forward. Meanwhile on the left, Chelsea loan boy is given a shot at wing, and behind him at full back, beloved Bibi Gardner makes his return.
I'm excited by this lineup. If anything it's showing people that Coyle will make both tactical and personnel changes. What do you think, has he got it right?
*I know we were doing that fancy table thing for the open thread, but come on. It's the Carling Cup.