Bolton stats & preview

Friday 23 November 2001

A win for each of these two sides last weekend will have buoyed their respective fans, and make them more keen to repeat the feat in this match. Bolton certainly will not want a repeat of the corresponding fixture last season, when the rampant Cottagers stole a 2-0 win at the Reebok Stadium in Division One.

The scorer of both goals that afternoon was Portuguese star Luis Boa Morte, and the former Arsenal man will be hoping to make a return to the side this weekend following a suspension. However, it is Louis Saha who will be expected to be the biggest threat - the Frenchman returned to form last time out with the opening goal in the win over Newcastle, and having attempted 35 shots already this season he is likely to scare Jussi Jaaskelainen whenever he has the ball at his feet.

Proving that football is indeed an unpredictable game, Fulham have proven most adept at spraying the ball around the park. A pass completion rate of 79% rivals that of almost every other side, but despite their ability to keep possession it seems to have had little effect on the eventual outcome of a number of matches that have refused to go their way.

Of course, Bolton have a master of the striking art of their own. Michael Ricketts also netted last weekend, a delightful goal which made Ipswich 'keeper Matteo Sereni look rather silly, and the Bolton no.17 has done more than any other player to lift the Trotters' goals-to-shots ratio to an above-average 13%.

Unfortunately Bolton have struggled in other areas, otherwise their league position may have been even higher than the nonetheless-impressive eighth place they currently occupy. Sam Allardyce's men have hit fewer successful passes than any other side in the division, and if they are to shed their current 'lucky' image and realistically challenge in the league this season, they must surely connect with their distribution on a more regular basis.

There is no doubt who referees have been less impressed by this term out of the two teams. Bolton have already picked up 11 more bookings than the Cottagers, although with just a handful more fouls attributed to the Lancashire side it does seem as though Fulham have been more careful to commit their offences when the officials' backs are turned.

Despite Fulham appearing to play the better football it is Bolton who have climbed into the top half of the table, and Fulham will therefore be even more keen to win this tie to restore last season's status quo. Fulham finished the 2000-01 campaign a clear 14 points ahead of the Trotters.

FACTS, STATS & TEAM NEWS

Fulham's French striker Steve Marlet misses the Cottagers match against Bolton with a compound fracture of the knee but Luis Boa Morte is available again following suspension.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Brevett, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Clark, Collins, Legwinski, Malbranque, Davis, Ouaddou, Taylor, Boa Morte, Hayles, Saha.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

The first meeting in the Premiership of two of last season's promoted clubs.
Fulham are hoping to add Bolton, to Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle as scalps they have claimed in successive League games.

The Craven Cottage club previously recorded three wins on the trot in the First Division in March. They finished the year 2000 with four successive victories, but started the 2000/01 season with an amazing 11 match winning streak.

Bolton might have maintained their impressive away form at Ipswich last Sunday, but are still looking for a first home win since the 2-1 success over Liverpool in the third game of the season on 27 August.

HEAD TO HEAD

Previous meetings: (all competitions)

Played: 58 - Bolton wins 26 - Fulham wins 16 - Draws 16

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

This is the first Premiership meeting of these clubs. Last season in Division One, Fulham won 2-0 at the Reebok, with the reverse fixture drawn.

Bolton are chasing a third win in four home League matches with the Londoners.

Wanderers' last home win over Fulham in the top flight was 37 years ago, when they won 2-1 in the former First Division on 8 February, 1964.

Fulham's last top flight victory at Bolton was 40 years ago, a 2-3 success in the old Division One on 20 September, 1961.

BOLTON WANDERERS

Current League position - 8th 19 points - 4 points off the pace

Best realistic scenario at final whistle Up 4 to 4th If win, and Chelsea and Newcastle do no more than draw home matches against Blackburn and Derby respectively. (Bolton will go up 5 to 3rd if also win by five clear goals.)

Worst Scenario at final whistle - Down 4 to 12th If lose, Blackburn and Tottenham at least draw at Chelsea and West Ham respectively, and Everton win at Leicester.

Sequences

4 HOME PREMIERSHIP GAMES WITHOUT A WIN [1 draw, 3 losses]

GONE 5 SINCE A CLEAN SHEET

GONE 9 PREMIERSHIP MATCHES SINCE A CLEAN SHEET

SCORED 2 GOALS IN EACH OF LAST 4 - all Prem

Recent Form

Won 1 of last 3 - all Prem

Lost 2 of last 5 - all Prem

Drawn 1 in last 7 League and Cup games

2 wins in last 4 League games

3 defeats in last 6 Premiership encounters

1 draw in last 6 League encounters

7 wins from 15 League and Cup games this season

4 defeats in the 15

5 wins, 4 draws and 4 defeats from the 13 League games this campaign

Failed to score 4 times in 15 matches this season - all 4 in the Prem

Kept 4 clean sheets - 3 in the Prem

Potential Career Milestones

Dean HOLDSWORTH is a hat trick away from scoring 50 goals for Bolton

Michael RICKETTS is a hat trick away from 50 club goals in senior football

Nicky SOUTHALL needs a hat trick to reach 50 career goals

If he plays, Per FRANDSEN will be making his 50th League appearance for Bolton

TROTTERS NOTES

One of four clubs, whose players have been shown three red cards in Premier League action.

Hold the longest drawing sequence this season in the top flight - 3.

Need two goals to top 100 in the Premiership.

One goal away from conceding 150 in the Premiership.

Last clean sheet was the 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Worthington Cup Third Round tie at the Reebok on 8 October.

Last Premiership clean sheet was the goalless draw at Leeds on 8 September.

Last match in which failed to score was the 0-4 home League defeat against Newcastle on 13 October.

FULHAM

Current League position 11th 17 points - 3 places and 2 points below Bolton

Best realistic scenario at final whistle Up 5 to 6th If win by 3 clear goals, Tottenham do no better than draw at West Ham, Chelsea draw with Blackburn 0-0 at Stamford Bridge and Newcastle lose at home to Derby with a 4 goal swing.

Worst Scenario at final whistle Down 3 to 14th If lose, Everton win at Leicester, West Ham have a home victory over Spurs and Charlton defeat Southampton at St Mary's with a 3 goal swing.

Sequences

WON LAST 3 - all Prem

4 UNDEFEATED - all Prem [3 wins, 1 draw]

SCORED IN EACH OF LAST 4 - all Prem

Recent Form

1 defeat in last 8 League and Cup games

1 draw in last 6 in all competitions

6 wins from this season's 14 matches so far

3 draws in last 7 Premiership duels

Lost 3 games this season - all Prem

Only 1 away League win this season

Won 1 in 7 away League games

4 clean sheets this season - all Prem

Failed to score once in last 7 in all competitions

Failed to score 3 times this season - all Prem

Potential Career Milestones

If he figures Sean DAVIS will each be making his 100th appearances for Fulham

FULHAM NOTES

Last defeat was 0-2 at Aston Villa in the Premiership on 14 October.

Last time failed to score was the 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa in the Premiership on 14 October.

Three remaining ever presents in Steve Finnan, Steed Malbranque and Andy Melville. Only Finnan has started all 14 of the clubs League and Cup games.

Caught offside 21 times. That's fewest occasions of all 20 clubs in Premiership matches this season, according to the Barclaycard information sheet.

REFEREES REPORT

MAN IN THE MIDDLE - MIKE DEAN (Heswell, The Wirral)

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