First Up – Fulham at the Reebok


One week until the Premier League season gets underway and first up for Bolton, the apparently free scoring, Fulham. Fulham saw off Werder Breman 5-1 in Mark Hughes first game in charge and will be expecting to start the season with at least a draw against Owen Coyles Bolton. (By Jay Jay 23)

However Bolton will be looking to make an immediate mark on the season and will see Saturdays game as a fresh start and the beginning of things to come.

Owen Coyle’s proposed new brand of football could be on display in their first game of the season. Luckily, Bolton are at home and a good performance and a win could set the tone for the season. The team and fans will have been boosted by the arrival of Ivan Klasnic in the past week but the goal machine is unlikely to feature on the opening day. There is the whisper of a renewed optimism regarding Johan Elmander who has found the net three times in preseason. Whether the trend will continue into the Premiership campaign, though, reamins to be seen.

 Zat Knight should be back from injury and will probably start ahead of Andy O’Brien in the centre of defence. Wanderers fans will, no doubt, be looking forward to seeing Martin Petrov in action and will be hoping he can fill the void that has been the left of midfield in recent times. Petrov is one of the greatest captures of the summer and arrived from Manchester City on a free. Robbie Blake and Marcus Alonso, two more of Coyle’s summer signings will probably make the bench.

Will the much awaited Coyle magic start to work on Saturday? Will Fulham feel the full force of Bolton’s raids down the wings from the much admired Chung Yong and the much anticipated Matin Petrov? Will Elmander finally break his Premier League curse and start to put the ball in the net? Are Cahill and Knight finally going to gel together at the back? And is Paul Robinson still going to start games? Is the atmosphere going to be boosted by a scintillating attacking brand of football or will it all end in tears and a loss on the opening day?

Likely line up – Jussi Steinsson Cahill Knight Robinson Lee Muamba Holden Petrov Davies Elmander


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