So, the international break is over and we can get back to the serious business of the Premier League.
Rumours coming from the England camp suggest that Cleverley may be injured and if this proves the case then Ferguson’s decision not to buy another central midfielder could be tested. However, what better Fergie answer than fit again, tenacious Scot, Darren Fletcher? I’m a huge fan of Fletcher and, whilst he isn’t Sneijder, he is a great midfielder to call upon, especially in a North West derby at the Reebok.
At the back I’d love to see Smalling carry on his exciting progress at right back and with Vidic out and Ferdinand still dubious I’d expect to see Jones and Evans (recently quoted as saying “I didn’t hit the form I wanted. I went away and thought maybe I have another year, if I had another season like that I am sure the manager wouldn’t want me around. I wasn’t playing consistently to a good enough standard for Manchester United so I have gone back to basics and worked hard”) play with captain Evra. I was elated to hear Evans say this as I, along with many others, thought Evans was going off the boil but the new competition for places that Jones has brought has made him step up his game.
In goal we’d have to expect that De Gea would start and he must expect shots from distance and elbows, knees and shoves from up much closer. It’s fixtures like these that will help, no end, his Premiership education.
So who will feature for Bolton?
The Trotters start the weekend in 10th place in the Premiership, on three points. They won their opening game away at Queen Park Rangers with a stunning 4-0 victory, but have sampled defeat in the two games since.
Owen Coyle has been pretty active in the transfer window. Not only managing to keep hold of Gary Cahill, he’s bolstered his pack to include three new recruits. David Ngog, Gael Kakuta and Dedryck Boyata are all in contention to make their debuts against the reds, and Stuart Holden played a game for the reserves in midweek. Holden broke his leg against United at Old Trafford last season, in an accidental clash with Johnny Evans.
Jussi Jaaskelainen will feature in goal for the home side, and danger man Kevin Davies will be putting himself about as usual and hassling the centre backs, as well as De Gea as mentioned before. Phil Jones will be the man to take care of him, and it’ll be an interesting dual to watch.
If Bolton bag two against us on Saturday, they’ll have scored 300 Premier League goals.
But it’s up to us to not let that happen, and confidence in our defence is so high that we’re all confident that it wont. But it’s up front and out wide that interests me most of all. You’d have to think that Young and Rooney are pretty untouchable at the moment and Nani is looking very good too. With fans’ Mexican favourite fit again I have to doubt a starting place for Berbatov, Owen or Valencia.
It’s on that note that I’ll end this. How good is the squad strength when we’ve the likes of Ferdinand, Vidic, Cleverley, Carrick, Welbeck, Berbatov, Owen, da Silva twins, Valencia and Giggs all likely to miss out for one reason or another and not one of us are worried?
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