PGL: Morning Insiders. We get to forget about all the transfer window bull today and get back to the football. Kolo comes back into the side alongside Djourou, and Denilson makes a come back. I’m thought RVP would once again wear the armband but Kolo takes it for todays game. This week I’ve got back in touch with Chris to see what going down at the Reebok since our last visit.
PGL: So what’s been happening at Bolton since we last met?
Chris: Things have been a bit topsy turvy since we last met. We had started the season poorly and looked set for another year of misery.
Then, in November, things took a turn for the better, with 4 wins in 5 and the only defeat coming against Liverpool.
We’re on a bit of a bad run again at the moment and need to start picking up points again if we are to avoid a repeat of last season’s agonising fight against relegation.
PGL: Do you expect Gary Megson to buy during the window?
Chris: Today (Friday) we have completed the loan signing of Sebastien Puygrenier from Zenit St Petersburg, hopefully he settles in quickly because Gary Cahill and Andy O’Brien need competition in defence.
That signing will probably put an end to the Calum Davenport deal we’ve agreed with West Ham, although at £3m, most fans would have been disappointed.
We desperately need a creative midfielder, it remains to be seen whether or not Denilson will turn out to be that guy, and somebody who can put the ball in the net because our forwards have been misfiring again this season.
PGL: Megson has Denilson on Trial. Is this the right kind of move for Bolton?
Chris: The media always seem to criticise Bolton for their unfashionable style of play, but criticise us even more when a big name signs for the club.
Since the likes of Okocha, Djorkaeff and more recently Campo and Diouf have left the club, we lack that one player who can play that defence splitting ball. If Denilson can provide this, then the gamble will be worthwhile, although if he fails to impress on his trial, like he has almost everywhere he has been over the last 8 years, he will be back on the plane to Brazil before the end of next week.
PGL: How do your fans feel about Big Sam setting up camp with one of your big Lancashire rivals?
Chris: While some people aren’t too bothered to see Allardyce back in the game, the majority are disappointed he went to Blackburn.
He was being linked with the then vacant Sunderland job prior to going to Ewood Park and had he gone there, I don’t think many people would have had too many complaints.
PGL: Your currently in 11th spot but only ten points separate 7th to 20th, are you worried about getting dragged down or thinking you’ll push on higher?
Chris: It’s difficult to predict where we will finish in all honesty. After Saturday’s game, we only have Manchester United and Chelsea from the “top 4” left to play.
If we can get ourselves on a three or four game winning run again, we will be fine and hopefully pushing towards mid table. Although, the longer our poor form continues, the harder it will be to get back to winning ways.
Whilst I don’t think we will go down, I’m hopeful of finishing around 13th place.
PGL: Its been written that Arsenal have lost their fear factor. Do you think its a good time to play us?
Chris: I don’t think there is ever a good time to play at the Emirates. We’ve not won a league game at Arsenal since 1962 and I can’t see that changing this weekend.
PGL: How will deal with not having Nolan and Steinsson available?
Having both of these missing at the same time is a blow, but we have to be able to cope without them.
Nolan has been off form this season and will probably be replaced by Muamba, while Steinsson will be replaced by Hunt for his first appearance of the season.
Getting booked 10 times already is very poor in my opinion and it is something Nolan needs to sort out. What’s the point in being the captain if you’re going to be suspended all the time.
PGL: We are lacking a bit of pace at the minute. Do you see Megson trying to make this a slow tempo scrap?
Chris: As always, I expect us to sit deep and try to hit you on the break or from a set play, the usual system away from home which has actually proved quite successful so far this season.
PGL: And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
Chris: As usual, I’m going to bet against my team, a 2-0 win for Arsenal with a goal in either half, most probably assisted by poor defending on our part.
PGL: So thats the hard word from Bolton folks. For us, it’s yet another test, yet another must win, yet another day to prove we have what it takes. This game will be no easy ride but without Nolan, Bolton are a weaker side, but then again so are we without Cesc. Chris is going for 2-0 but we always concede against the Trotters so I’m going for the same score as the game at the Reebok earlier in the year, a hard fought 3-1 to the Arsenal.