Is it time for West Ham history at Bolton to change?
The Hammers have never won at the Reebok, is this the year they change all that?
When you are looking for a game to bounce back from after a home defeat, then a trip to Bolton would be at the bottom of the list for any West Ham fan.
Not only have the Hammers never won at the Reebok since Bolton moved there in 1997, such is the hoodoo that Wanderers have over West Ham, they have actually won the last seven games between the two home and away.
Back in August they were at it again. Johan Elmander, who has 12 goals to his name this season and therefore must be the one to watch, scored two, while a Matty Upson own goal added to the West Ham woe in a 3-1 home defeat.
It has been an excellent season so far for Owen Coyle’s men. They currently sit eighth in the table with the magical 40 points, while they have won eight of their home games this term, losing just two.
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Those two defeats came against Liverpool and Chelsea, while Stoke, Spurs, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Brom, Wolves, Everton and Aston Villa have all left the Reebok empty-handed.
David Wheater was brought in from Middlesbrough in January to bolster the defence, while loan star Daniel Sturridge has managed four goals in his seven appearances so far.
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Kevin Davies has nine goals to his name and is always a thorn in West Ham’s side and the fact that Bolton have not played a home game since March 5 suggests they will be keen to get out there and impress their fans.
West Ham last beat Bolton on their home turf back in 1995 when goals from Ian Bishop, Tony Cottee and Danny Williamson gave them a 3-1 win, but even that was at the old Burnden Park ground, long since demolished.
It is Bolton’s tactics that seem to be the biggest problem for the Hammers.
Too often West Ham’s defence succumbs to the high ball into the box, and Robert Green will be having a few nightmares leading up to the game when he reflects on past mistakes against the Wanderers big men.
However, when you think about the way West Ham have been playing lately – even in the first half against Manchester United – and when you consider the striking options at Avram Grant’s disposal, maybe it is finally time for West Ham to break that Reebok winning duck.
Bolton are in top-half security and it will be the Hammers with most to play for. Perhaps that will make all the difference.
Possible team: Jaaskelainen, Cahill, Wheater, Steinsson, Alonso, Petrov, Cohen, Muamba, Davies, Sturridge, Elmander.
Bolton Wands 1 West Ham 2