In conversation with news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant, Chris Quinn and Tim Lesnik argue the respective cases for Bolton and Norwich ahead of today’s Premier League clash at the Reebok Stadium.
CB: Two teams on a poor run of form meet at the Reebok today. Which team will come out on top?
CQ: Bolton have had a tough start to their Premier League season and will look to bounce back here at 91/100. An emphatic opening day win against QPR has been followed up by defeats to big-guns Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester Utd. This is a huge game for Bolton and their season will begin here, so a win is crucial.
TL: People are already talking about Norwich as being out of their depth after failing to pick up a win in their first four league games of the season. However, they haven’t been outclassed in any of their matches to date – including against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – so it’s way too soon to start drawing conclusions about Paul Lambert’s men. Indeed, I fancy them to prove a few “experts” wrong, click into gear this afternoon and pull off a shock victory at attractive odds of 13/4. Bolton might have had a tough run of fixtures, but that doesn’t disguise the fact the Trotters have lost eight of their last nine league games. Norwich are good enough to take advantage.
So which players are likely to get the goals to fire their teams to victory?
CQ: Ivan Klasnic has a habit of nicking goals for Bolton towards the end of games, often when they already have a cushion. He has notched three times already for Bolton and those goals have come in the 70th, 39th and 92nd minute of games. The only exception was his first-half strike against Manchester City. However, they were 0-2 down and chasing the game on that occasion. 5/1 is good value for him to round off a win over Norwich.
TL: Grant Holt has shown glimpses that he’s capable of carrying his prolific form for Norwich into the Premier League, most notably when he scored against Chelsea. The big man has scored 46 goals in 88 league appearances and is available to score at any time at the jaw-dropping price of 13/4. Compare that with Kevin Davies, who only managed eight goals in 38 league appearances last season but is 7/5 to score at any time and you’ll see why Holt represents good value.
Sounds like you envisage there being a few goals in the second half, Mr Quinn…
CQ: As I’ve just touched on with Klasnic, Bolton have a habit of scoring the majority of their goals in the second half, making 7/5 a decent bet. The Trotters smashed QPR 4-0 on the opening day, with three of the four goals going in after the interval. The first-half goal in that game was scored in the second minute of injury-time, so almost second-half! Two of their other three Premier League goals have come in the second-half, whilst both strikes in a Carling Cup win over Macclesfield were scored after the 45 minute mark.
TL: Chris isn’t the only one predicting goals galore after the interval. Norwich made a habit of that last season – they scored 17 more league goals in the second period than they did in the first in their promotion-winning Championship campaign. With Bolton so leaky at the back – the Trotters have conceded 11 in their last three games – Norwich to score more goals in the second half than in the first looks attractive at 7/4.
CB: So who’s going to come out on top in the second half?
CQ: With Bolton firing most of their goals in the second-half, it makes sense to back them to win the second period at odds of 6/5. If goals after the second half counted then they’d have beaten QPR 3-0 and drawn with Manchester City 1-1. Coyle’s men seem to awaken after the break and if Norwich tire, the Trotters will be looking to capitalise.
TL: I’m not sure that Norwich will tire either – they’re one of the fittest sides in the country, as the number of late goals they score attests. So I’m putting my money on the Canaries winning the second half at 29/10 – better odds, and a better chance I’d say!
CB: And the final score will be…
CQ: Bolton to win 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 at 15/4. Bolton will be pumped up for this game and should be able to extend Norwich’s poor start to the season. Norwich are an attacking team, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them score. However, I’m expecting Bolton to have too much for Norwich and while I wouldn’t be confident in predicting the exact score, I would be happy to cover multiple bases and back them to win by either of those scorelines.
TL: Norwich will win this one. Bolton will certainly score – the Norwich defence was on the leaky side even when they were in the Championship. But Bolton aren’t exactly watertight at the back either, and I’m backing Holt and co to take advantage. The Canaries to win 2-1 at odds of 12/1 for me.
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