Fri, Mar 4, 9:47am by Kevin Pitstock
After a good run of form, suddenly the pressure is back on Aston Villa ahead of this trip to Bolton. Manager Gerard Houllier has come under widespread criticism for changing his side round for their FA Cup loss at Manchester City, so the onus is on whichever players he brings back into his team for this game to really perform. Bolton have overcome a slightly wobbly spell to look on course for a top half finish, playing some attractive football in the process.
BOLTON WANDERERS PREVIEW
Bolton continue to be strong at the Reebok Stadium, with just two defeats so far in the Premier League. They are in 7th place, 5 points above Aston Villa, but for whatever reason, the Wanderers seem to struggle against Villa, who they have failed to beat in their last 8 tries. Defender Gretar Steinsson should feature but Riccardo Gardner is likely to miss out through injury, plus longer term absentees Zat Knight and Sam Ricketts. Striker Daniel Sturridge is in red hot form, with 4 goals in 4 matches since making his loan move from Chelsea – the kind of consistency he has never shown at Stamford Bridge. The pressure is off Wanderers to some extent, who are going well in the FA Cup as well as being comfortable in the Premier League.
ASTON VILLA PREVIEW
Villa have a 5 point cushion between themselves and the bottom three in the Premier League and showed what they were capable of in their last game, a convincing 4-1 home win over Blackburn Rovers, where Ashley Young scored twice. Houllier completely shuffle the pack in the FA Cup, where they felt tamely to Manchester City. Darren Bent couldn’t play as he was cup-tied but Stewart Downing and Ashley Young were among those who got some downtime and who should be recalled. Defender Carlos Cuellar is ruled out. Young should certainly feature, as he’s in good form and he loves facing Bolton. He’s hit 5 goals in his last 5 games against them. Villa have struggled against top half sides too, with just 1 win in 15 against them. They may benefit from being fresh, but that is countered by the fact Bolton were not busy in midweek.
BOLTON WANDERERS v ASTON VILLA BEST BET AND PREDICTION
Bolton are a good side at home and can edge past Villa here, who have checked their own momentum. We like a 2-1 score line to Wanderers and will be backing Bolton at $2.30 with IAS Bet
Back Bolton Wanderers at $2.30 with IAS Bet!
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