After months of having nothing to do with an enjoyable side interest provided by the World Cup, football is officially back. Bolton Wanderers have a tough first ask this season, with a trip to The Hawthorns to face one of the title favourites West Bromwich Albion.
The good news heading into this game is that Bolton have only lost twice to West Brom in 14 meetings going back to 2000, although this is the first clash between the two sides since May 2012 and we’ve only won one of the last seven. Recent meetings would tell you a draw is the most likely result, given that’s been the outcome in nine of the last 14 meetings between these sides.
Phil Parkinson’s first team selection of the 2018/19 campaign sees four Bolton debuts, for Pawel Olkowski, Jason Lowe, Luke Murphy and Josh Magennis. He looks likely to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Josh Vela in behind Magennis and Sammy Ameobi and, surprisingly, Will Buckley providing the width, with Yanic Wildschut only on the bench. We’ll be in dire straits if anything happens to Ben Alnwick as our goalkeeping backup is provided by 35-year-old Ben Williams. Yup, no idea who he is either.
West Brom have a slightly scary looking side, with Jay Rodriguez up front, Matt Phillips providing danger from wide areas and Ahmed Hegazi a goal threat at the back, as well as plenty of attacking potential from full-back from Allan Nyom and Kieran Gibbs. There’s no place in their squad for former Bolton loanee Craig Dawson or Newcastle target Salomon Rondon.
Here are today’s starting line-ups. We’ll bring you updates from The Hawthorns as it happens in the Comments section below, where you can let us know your thoughts on all things Wanderers related as we head into the new season.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Sam Johnstone; Allan Nyom, Kyle Bartley, Ahmed Hegazi, Kieran Gibbs; Harvey Barnes, Jake Livermore, Chris Brunt, Matt Phillips; Jay Rodriguez, Hal Robson-Kanu
Substitutes: Boaz Myhill, James Morrison, Oliver Burke, Gareth Barry, Tosin Adarabioyo, Rekeem Harper, Conor Townsend
Bolton Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Ben Alwnick; Pawel Olkowski, David Wheater, Mark Beevers, Andrew Taylor; Jason Lowe, Luke Murphy; Sammy Ameobi, Josh Vela, Will Buckley; Josh Magennis
Substitutes: Adam Le Fondre, Yanic Wildschut, Craig Noone, Gary O’Neil, Mark Little, Jack Hobbs, Ben Williams