Birmingham City vs. Bolton Wanderers
Saturday, March 12th 2011, 13.45 CET
FA Cup action today and I had to choose between this game and that of Manchester United and Arsenal. I decided I’ll just enjoy the derby and stake my money on this, easier to predict game. Sure, bookie odds make it difficult to pick a team in this one (as I’m writing, odds are 2.85 – 3.25 – 2.35), but they are really attractive, and I think that with a bit of research I can find the winner.
Birmingham City, a team placed 17th in the Premier League (that’s just safe of relegation) will be receiving Bolton Wanderers today. I’d say Birmingham should be more concerned on staying away from relegation in Premier League than on doing well in the FA Cup’s sixth round today.
Plus, they already won the Carling Cup this season, and I think for a team like Birmingham, winning a cup and staying clear of relegation is enough this season.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t have high standards, but let’s take a look at the potential absentees today:
- Lee Bowyer, midfielder, scored 3 goals this season
- David Bentley, midfielder, scored 1 goal this season
- Keith Fahey, another midfielder with 1 goal scored this season
- Riam Ridgewell, the stone in Birmingham’s defense with 4 goals scored so far
- Craig Gardner, their 2nd top goalscorer with 7 goals
- Nikola Zigik, their current top goalscorer with 8 goals
And if those are potential absentees, let’s look at the certain absentees:
- Stephen Carr, the captain and playmaker of Birmingham City
- Alexander Hleb, the Bielorussian midfielder
- Scott Dann, defender, 2 goals scored
- James McFadden, striker
All the potential absentees are most probably going to be rested today in hopes of putting them to better use in the Premier League. Right now, Birminghham City cannot afford to go in this match with everything they’ve got!
Bolton Wanderers, placed 7th in Premier League has certainly had a better run this season than Birmingham, despite the Carling Cup. They will be missing striker Daniel Sturridge who performed well for Bolton in previous matches. Instead of him, coach Owen Coyle will probably send in Klasnic, with 6 goals so far this season.
Bolton don’t have many absentees, and those they do have are not vital to the team:
- Daniel Sturridge, striker
- Sam Ricketts, midfielder
- Ricardo Gardner, winger
- Jlloyd Samuel, defender
- Zat Knight, centre back
I really don’t think Bolton will miss these players today. Most of them played very few times or not at all this season. And with only one loss in the last 9 competitive matches, the team has a very good morale, which I’m sure will help them today.
As you can probably tell by now, I favour Bolton Wanderers to win. Odds for them winning are attractive at 2.62 on Bwin, so it’s a go!
Bolton Wanderers to win for 3 units