Bolton Preview & Open Thread

It will be interesting to see how the players react to the disappointing performance last week against Middlesbrough. There will be two enforced changes, with Cole injured and Neill suspended. We can assume Behrami will return to midfield in place of Boa Morte as well. The right back slot ought to go to Jonathan Spector, but James Tomkins may get a start there too.

The quandary is what to do about the front two. Against Bolton you really need a big strong centre forward, possibly in a 4-5-1 formation. And I suspect that this is what Zola will do – slot Tristan into that role. Unfortunately, judging by his performance last week, he is not suited to it. However, if Savio is brought into a five man midfield, or plays just behind Tristan, we may just get away with it. Alternatively, we could go with Di Michele partnered by either Sears or Savio.

Either way, if we win and Wigan lose, we go seventh. Giddy heights indeed.

Anyway, remember to tune into Setanta Sports News at 3pm to see yours truly, and then come back here at 5pm to vote on the player performances – but only if you were at the match or managed to see it on an internet stream.

UPDATE: PA are reporting a surprise selection, with Tony Stokes lining up alongside Carlton Cole in attack. I can’t beluieve this is right. They say the team is Green, Spector, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole Stokes. Di Michele isn’t even on the bench.

UPDATE: major f *** up by PA. Di Michele is alongside Cole, not Stokes.

UPDATE: Sittin in Setanta at the moment. Going live at 3pm on Setanta Sports News, alongside Perry Groves and Viv Anderson!


76 Responses to Bolton Preview & Open Thread

  1. viperracer says:

    I think we’ll see Behrami at right back today with Neill suspended. Savio to the right midfield with Noble, Parker, Collison on the left.

  2. richo says:

    Will miss the match unfortunately, goin to a festival in Sydney tomorrow so early night for me, i’ll record the match however i’ll probably just view the match report here to see how we went, got a good feelin bout this one…Bolton will be physical as usual but I think we’ll outlast them fitness wise and nick the three points.
    Good luck with your tele appearance Iain…give em heaps.
    Come on Irons!!!

  3. DevoDevo says:

    I’ll be happy to take a draw noe in all honesty.

    Kovac should start and the key will be to keep the game lavel for as long as possible. The Bolton fans are very quick to turn on their team and manager and perhaps we can exploit some nervousness late on.

    We are terribly short (no pun intended) up front without CC. Perhaps tristan up front alone with a 5 man mf may be the answer, at least he won’t have to be too mobile in that role. I hadn’t thought of this option.

    Lots of positive noises coming from Poland re; Brozak. Looks the complete forward to my eyes, let’s hope he joins us in the summer.

    Finally, Faubert not in Real 19! You’ve got to laugh.

    To all those making the journey to Bolton – well done and make it noisy!

    I’ll be watching online after taking the kids to a party.

    See you all later.

  4. brayhammer says:

    Great blog Iain . .yeah I think Tristen will play as Zola likes a big man up front especially as an out ball if necessary but I think you might be right dont think Tristen is that kind of player. Personally I would play Sears and Savoi (isnt it funny after all the abuse people gave CC that now he is injured people miss him terribly!!) I think Zola was hoping Dyer and Ashton would be fit by now to compensate Bellemy leaving. Good luck at Setanta mate . . .

  5. aussie graham says:

    We get every game here live at 1 in the morning great coverage on foxsports with mark bosnich giving good half time analysis occasionally can we break the reebok bogey?

  6. devo says:


  7. Roymondo says:

    As I mentioned yesterday, we apparently have never had a goalless draw in a league game against Bolton – ever!
    I think I will have a look at the odds on a nil-nil when I get there as records are made to be broken. I know this sounds a bit negative but I can’t see where goals are going to come from today.
    Right, off we go oop north, then.

  8. Tony says:

    Hate playing against Bolton. There allways so hard 2 beat and we have to be on our toes today. If we keep Davis well covered, I cant see them getting much from us. Hoping for a one nil away win and a Wigan defeat. Come On U Irons.

  9. Ian Bishop's socks says:

    Trivia question: When was the last time Lawro predicted a West Ham win? (Has he ever predicted a West Ham win?)

  10. irontc says:

    maybe this will be the turning point for tristan.

    if that doesnt work – why not try tomkins up front as a target man?

  11. Mile end dave says:

    Does anyone know if the todays match is being live streamed ?

  12. Paul B says:

    Lawro also said that we will be selling all our players in the transfer window (and it was nice to stick two fingers up at him, sort of). Your right IBS, he never gives us a win but if we keep doing oposite to what he predicts and he keeps predicting defeats and doom and gloom and we win then that’s fine by.

  13. Ian Bishop's socks says:

    Paul B, the day he predicts a win for us is the day that I start to worry! The bloke just comes across as having a real problem with West Ham. No matter how well West Ham are playing, or how badly the opposition is playing, it seems the best he can ever do for us is a draw but most of the time it isn’t even that.

  14. Johnboy says:

    Lawro is a numpty.

  15. Ads says:

    I have never seen Tristan play so I can’t make a judgement. However, he played for a number of years in La Liga so he can’t be that bad. If we are to play Tristan, then Di Michele needs to drop to the bench and some younger legs around Tristan to do the running and closing down, Savio or Sears I would be hapy with.

    I’m glad Behrami is back, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Right Back with Kovac coming into midfield for a bit of presence and height.

    As someone mentioned in an earlier post, Bolton fans hate Megson, so if we can get a good start, then the odds will be in our favour.


  16. A bit nervous about this one tonight. Might not have enough power up front. Our defence should be able to hold them out and hopefully we can pinch a goal and sneak a win.

    Regarding Lawro, I tried to use him in the office tipping comp. Had to give him the flick as he was useless and his tips put me in last position in a comp of 40 people.

  17. Bernie Bonds says:

    Johnboy very polite!bet you wish you could swear on here,i do, lawro a ****lol

  18. Goatygav says:

    Yes – one up top today. Pack the midfield and win as much as possible whilst disrupting their posession in the hope we can nick a goal.

    Forget Lawro and his annoying, whining tones. The bloke makes Marvin the Paranoid Android sound inspirational.

    A heroic and well earned point for our weakened team this afternoon is the most likely outcome.

  19. Kim says:

    I will be watching my god daughter at the Royal Festival Hall. My brother will be giving me updates by text from Goa as they show it live on tv there- it is a strange world! I think Kovac should play in midfield. He has the strong physical presence needed. Actually, he has scored two goals for Spartak Moscow in half a season. LBM has only scored once in his entire time with us and the WHU website says he is a striker. You might as well put Kovac up front – he can’t do worse!!!

  20. IOWHammer says:

    Hope the lads are well rested. They looked tierd last weekend, especially Noble. He covers alot of ground in a game but is still young so it is going to take it’s toll. We will need Behrami back to ensure the work rate is kept up, as Bolton will work hard like Middlesbourgh did. I hope Parker leaves his rubber boots in the locker and wears normal leather ones so the ball sticks instead of flighing off like last week. Can’t see them troubling us at the back really but if we start with Di Michele & Trisan i can’t see us troubling them to much. We will miss Cole’s ability to hold the ball up as it does not look like Trisan’s game. Tristan looked shot last w/end. No spring or pace, not a good combination for a striker. If Kovac is fit, i’d put him in and possibly rest Noble. Kovac would give us hight at set pieces. It would be good to see Savio start up front, his speed and skill could definatly cause problems. Got to agree with raymondo though, see a nil,nil. Hope not but it’s where my money is going. I’ll be pleased to lose it for three points though.
    Will tune in to see you Iain.

  21. Eddie Chappers says:

    Savio and Sears are too lightweight for this game- Savio probably deserves a run out towards the end of the game as Bolton start to tire.

    I am going to go for DiMichele to score a brace and us to win 2-1 having come back from a goal down.

    Come On You Irons!!

  22. Lee says:

    From the BBC

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Puygrenier, Samuel, Kevin Davies, Mark Davies, McCann, Gardner, Taylor, Elmander.
    Subs: Al Habsi, Muamba, Smolarek, Makukula, Shittu, Basham, Andrew O’Brien.

    West Ham: Green, Spector, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Stokes.
    Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Nsereko, Kovac, Tristan, Tomkins, Sears.
    Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset)

    Cole & Stokes !!!????

  23. Al says:

    Cole starting!

  24. djclipz says:

    seen the line up: Green, Spector, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Stokes.

    Another youngster in Stokes!

  25. DevoDevo says:

    Wow! Zola keeps us all guessing!!


  26. djclipz says:

    di michele isnt even on the bench!! it thought it was cole who was injured and he’s starting???

  27. DevoDevo says:

    Stokes has to be a typo, isn’t he on loan in Hungary?

    Must be Di Michele 32 not 22.

  28. Al says:

    And according to the official site Stokes has joined a hungarian side till the end of the season!

    Oh well, Zola knows!


  29. djclipz says:

    oh yes he is!!! Stupid BBC got me all confused!!!

  30. Al says:

    The official site says Stokes is playing though. Who the hell knows?

  31. DevoDevo says:

    Stokes definitely seems to be selected?

    Must have a w/e off in Hungary. 😀

  32. HammersWest says:

    Never would have guessed that lineup, just saw it on Fox (TV) They were praising Noble for this season’s performance and feel he will make the difference, let’s hope so!

  33. Al says:

    Setanta have Di Michele playing not Stokes. If Di Michele was injured surely Sears or Savio would be first in line?
    I’m beginning to think it may be a typo. What would happen if someone at the club submitted the wrong number on the team sheet? Would we be allowed to change it? What if Stokes isn’t even there?

    Sorry, paranoid.

  34. djclipz says:

    Ha just saw iain on setanta, great west ham top he’s wearing!!!

  35. HammersWest says:

    Di Michele it is

  36. HammersWest says:

    Away fans loud bubbles ringing out

  37. brooking still the best says:

    any live streams about?

  38. HammersWest says:

    we’re 2 down unbelievable one great free kick and one from open play

  39. brooking still the best says:

    ohps 2-0 inside 15mins not looking good

  40. HammersWest says:

    Collins down injured, Tomkins coming on Collins looks bad

  41. KP says:

    BSTB, I’m watching on

    Horror show so far. Collins departing on a stretcher now too.

  42. HammersWest says:

    Not impressed with di michele, either offside or weak shots. upson limping

  43. brooking still the best says:

    Thanks KP

  44. SwedeHammer says:

    NOBLE!! Why pass??? Why does it look like we are dominating this game and it says 0-2??!! We play great..

  45. HammersWest says:

    Please take di michele off, dreadful finish

  46. HammersWest says:

    Agree we are playing well, just no finishing

  47. SwedeHammer says:

    DM?? What the hell!!! All alone and hit the corner flag..

  48. DevoDevo says:

    Two giveaways and rubbish in front of goal.

    Typical display at thr Reebock.

  49. Goatygav says:

    Nice touch getting your cash out to take the bookie on at 33-1 Iain. Like your style.

  50. Tevezgate says:

    Well I think we’re playing them off the park at the moment… assuming we can maintain that performance level we can take AT LEAST one point home tonight. Take off Michele and bring on Sears – he could maybe cause enough trouble in the box to nick a pen?

  51. SwedeHammer says:

    Again, we are playing brilliant up ’til we get to the box…then we get stuck. It is the same picture every game. Cole is having a great game so far, but finishing is poor, from everyone so far.

  52. brooking still the best says:

    Can’t believe we are losing 2-0, Di Michele what are you doing, lets face it he isn’t good enough. Stop gap for this season, OK but in the summer we have to get a finisher

  53. Tony says:

    Davis Davis and that big lump Davis, I hate him.. If we get an early one then we are back in it , but if Davis sticks his boot – elbow or anything else in the we will have problems.

  54. DevoDevo says:

    Joe Royle ccalled it right, Green was way out of position for the first goal. The 2nd goal was down to the Mf not tracking Davies, this seems to happen on a weekly basis.

    Doesn’t matter how well we knock it about, with the chances we have had we should be level. Same last week against Boro, 4 or 5 gilt edged chances, 1 goal. It’s not good enough and it’s going to cause us to slip back down the league unless it is remedied.

  55. HammersWest says:

    so close COYI

  56. Tevezgate says:

    Whatever you think of the welsh traitor, you have to think we’d be level if those two chances had fallen him 😦

  57. HammersWest says:

    Agreed, just thinking the same thing, we need an opportunist goal scorer

  58. HammersWest says:

    I LOVE Scott Parker 2-1

  59. HammersWest says:

    Savio looking good, but physically lightweight

  60. Jolly says:

    Game of the day by a mile…….and we’ll still be last on MOTD

  61. chris says:

    WE just dont score.
    Bellamy missed badly.
    Di michele 0 out of 10 waste of space.

  62. chris says:

    we should buy Davis so underated.

  63. DevoDevo says:

    I’m fuming here. Di Michele complete wasste of time trying to walk the ball in.

    Gave them the game with a sloppy start when we are eons above them in quality.
    Zola needs to sort this malaise out. Starting like this against Boro and now this week.

    3 points dropped.

    Plus points:

  64. Roshi says:

    All very well, but where is SJ Chandos!

  65. brooking still the best says:

    cant understand how we lost that game. same old story, can’t score when clean through. should have been a happy hammer tonight but instead I am a pissed off Hammer!

  66. chris says:

    I just dont see where the goals are gunna come from, we are in trouble,everyone except us in the prem, has some kind of quality up front.
    Sorry, Di michele Tristan sears are not going to score that just leaves carlton,
    We should drop Di michele ASAP play savio in a 5 man midfield,then cross our fingers!

  67. jpt says:

    Parker was superb.
    West Ham better team by a mile.
    Two sloppyish goals conceded.
    Very poor up front with Di Michele (girls name) poor and Carlton I think back to his old ways.
    Someone is going to get a tanking by us very soon though I think.

  68. HammersWest says:

    Di Michele should not start, plus points for me Spector surprisingly solid, Tomkins really mature game, and Noble – after all the flack he has taken he had a really good game apart from the one midfielder pass in front of goal. MOTM Scotty, for his whole game, not just the goal

  69. Black West Ham says:

    We all know we havent got a clinical finisher! Look at the plus side!! We hammered them on possession and we played them off the turf on all accounts. Yeah we should have won but we didnt so lets look forward to the next game. Its exciting football, sometimes breathtaking. Once we have that striker with the killer finish we will be formidable. The link up play is second to none. ROLL ON.

  70. Tevezgate says:

    Parker must be Hammer Of The Year imo

  71. chris says:

    We still need 4 wins,Who’s gunna score??????

  72. chris says:

    Collins injured again,Hes lack of paced showed before he went off,but who should of picked up Davis for the goal, parker or spector.

  73. Hammered in Singapore says:

    How we lost today amazes me. Apart from the first 15 minutes Bolton were, well, er Bolton … direct, physical, unattractive. For what it’s worth my thoughts on the players

    Green – at fault for the first goal, not convincing today.
    Llunga – gets better and another solid performance today
    Upson – not at his best today allowed Davies to boss him, lucky to stay on the park at the end
    Tomkins – from the moment he came on to replace Collins he look composed and totally at home. Great game from him.
    Spector – doesn’t offer the attacking threat of lllunga and is not a long term option for me.
    Parker – Immense performance. Man of the match
    Behrami – not at his best either, lots of running as usual but seemed subdued to me
    Noble –lots of running but no real end result, especially when clear on goal – poor decision not shooting when clear on goal.
    Collinson – not at the races today, rightly sub’d
    Cole – gets better and better, I thought he did well again upfront on his own, misses a lively Bellamy off him
    DiMichele – Missed two clear goal opportunities, lots of endeavor and neat flicks but those misses cost us today

    Savio – clearly not quite ready but you can see the promise
    Sears – 5 minutes at the end, not enough, he should have come on earlier.

    We miss Bellamy. He would have given us the edge today, Savio isn’t quite the answer yet. Let’s hope Zola and Clarke can keep the team focused the replay against Middlesboro.

  74. DevoDevo says:

    My fuller analysis:

    Green – at fault for first goal. Two good saves 2nd half.
    Ilunga – Solid and always deangerous going forward.
    Upson – Had his hands full all game, not at his best.
    Tomkins – Continued on from last season, looked very comfortable.
    Spector – Did a good job today and put in great cross for goal, proving you don’t have to walk the ball in.
    Parker – inspirational, but very wasteful with the ball. Lost count of the times he passed to the opposition.
    Behrami – inneffective game. Good chasing back.
    Noble – Had his best game for a while. Played some excellent passes but his corners still disappoint.
    Collison – Under par today, may need a rest.
    Di Michele – Great movement and interplay but he should have scored at least two. Overelaborate.
    Cole – My MOM. Great hold up play, great feet and posed problems all day. Looked supremely confident and unlucky not to score with instinctive header.

    Savio – Looks bright. Would like to see him take corners when on the pitch.

    Sears – Not enough time again for him to make an impression. Should replace Di Michele next time up.

  75. colney says:

    thanks 2 that chap with the boston tv stream,the best one yet.parker was quite simply carrying the team yesterday.he was here there and everywhere.the big disapointment 4 me was boltons ability to get away with rugby tackles and constant fouls with hardly a ticking was not pretty and the ref had a shocker,could easily have sent of 2 or 3.part of the goal scoring problem we have is the lack of goals from midfield.i heard yesterday fat boy scores 20 goals a season from midfield,i reckon you could count on one hand what we get!

  76. chris says:

    Good news.Dyer will be back soon ready for the next operation!

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