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Fulham at home to Bolton ~ Match Preview

last updated Friday 16th December 2011, 1:33 PM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
Everything seems to be conspiring against Owen Coyle just now. Not only does he have a lengthy list of first-team contenders unavailable through injury, but all the teams around Bolton - yes, even Blackburn - have shown signs of putting up a fight.

Bolton's defeat against Aston Villa, their seventh home loss of the season already, leaves them rock-bottom of the Premier League. If it were not for a resounding and unexpected 5-0 drubbing of Stoke back in November, Coyle might just have beaten Steve Bruce in the top-flight sack race.

For two seasons Bolton have played the loan market brilliantly. First Jack Wilshere and then Daniel Sturridge helped Bolton and their own careers in the process. This season's loanees were Gael Kakuta, Tuncay and Dedryk Boyata - none of whom have yet enhanced their reputations.

The next four games could see Coyle sink or swim - after Fulham, it'll be Blackburn, Newcastle and Wolves. Two wins should save him; anything less may not.

I started my season watching Fulham play Runavik in a Europa League qualifier back in June - it feels like an eternity ago to me, and must do to them too. This game at the Cottage will be their 31st of the campaign - they only played 43 in the whole of last season. After going out of the Europa League in midweek, they may be wondering if all the extra effort was worth it.

Martin Jol's side have been inconsistent, maybe as a result of all those games. Some of the new signings are yet to really make a niche for themselves, but Pajtim Kasami, Marcel Gecov, Orlando Sa and academy graduate Kerim Frei have youth on their side. So far, though, £10.5m for Bryan Ruiz looks a little extravagant.

Jol could do with his side having a strong Christmas; with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to play, Mark Schwarzer injured and Bobby Zamora unsettled, that does not look likely.


  • Bolton have not won in the league at Fulham since a 4-1 victory in the third tier in November 1992. Since then, they have visited Craven Cottage 12 times in the league without winning.

  • However, the Trotters have since beaten Fulham twice in cup games at Craven Cottage - including last season, when Ivan Klasnic's goal secured a 1-0 win and a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

  • Three of the last four league meetings between the two sides have ended in draws, two of them goalless.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have scored just 16 goals in 15 league matches this season - and six of those came in one match.

  • They have conceded 18 league goals - only Liverpool and the two Manchester sides have let in fewer. Only Manchester United and Swansea have kept more clean sheets than Fulham's six.

  • Fulham have not conceded a penalty in their last 51 Premier League matches - the last time was in the 2-2 home match against Manchester United in August 2010 when Nani missed from the spot. The last penalty scored against the club was by Mikel Arteta for Everton in April 2010.

  • Each of Fulham's three Premier League victories this season have included a goal from Clint Dempsey. The American also scored twice in the 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last season.

  • They have won only two of their eight matches against bottom-half teams this season.

  • Bolton

  • Bottom-of-the-table Bolton have lost their last four league games and 12 of their first 15 this season. They have not had a draw in their last 25 league matches - a Premier League record.

  • The Trotters have won twice as many points away from home than at the Reebok Stadium this season (6:3), despite having played a match less on their travels than at home.

  • Bolton have scored more league goals (20) than sixth-placed Liverpool (18) this season but have conceded 36, more than any other team in the top flight.

  • Ivan Klasnic has scored seven Premier League goals this season and is now one goal away from equalling his best-ever tally for a season (eight in 2009-10). The Croat has scored four of the Trotters' last five goals.

  • Bolton have had five red cards in this season's top flight - more than any other club. Since the Premier League began, only three clubs have had six red cards between the start of the season and the end of the year - Leicester City (1994-95), Wimbledon (1995-96) and West Brom (2010-11).

  • Kevin Davies is set to make his 300th Premier League appearance for Bolton. He will be the second player to reach this milestone for the club after goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskalainen (375).

Source BBCSport
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