Everton and Bolton

1pt draw between Everton and Bolton in the Premiership, 13/5 Betfred, PaddyPower and Skybet (Saturday 7th February 3pm ko)

Everton have had an extremely tough couple of weeks. Their last five matches have all been against “big four” sides and all have been played in less than a three week period. Wednesday night’s cup replay against Liverpool lasted 120 minutes and would have taken a hell of a lot out of them. Everton’s game plan is based on hard work and they often take a very physical approach. After such a tough run of games I think they are going to be very tired on Saturday and considering Bolton are also a very physical side, I think Everton could be out muscled. The Toffees have a small squad and the same players have played in nearly every game. Fellani and Pienaar both picked up knocks on Wednesday and are doubtful. If they don’t make it the alternatives are teenagers Gosling and Rodwell or Andy Van Der Meyde who has hardly played in two seasons. They will have one new face in the squad as Jo was signed in the transfer window. However, he has hardly played in months himself and is severely lacking match fitness.

Everton have drawn five of their twelve home games this season and have won just three times at Goodison in the league. I expect Bolton to adopt quite a defensive approach and think Everton will struggle to break them down. Tim Cahill is likely to have to play up front on his own as Yakubu, Vaughan and Saha remain out injured, whilst Anichebe has been frozen out after a training ground bust up with David Moyes. Although Everton are always a threat from set plays, I think they are going to struggle to score from open play and could tire dramatically in the closing stages.

Bolton’s recent form has been encouraging. Narrow defeats to Arsenal and Man Utd, both of which were to late goals, were followed by a draw away at Blackburn and victory over Tottenham last week. They are not one of the better sides technically, but they will be difficult to break down and will fight for every ball, not the sort of side Everton want to be playing after such a gruelling few weeks. The reverse fixture at the Reebok stadium earlier this season was decided by an injury time Everton winner and I expect another tight game tomorrow. The draw is a big runner.

Minimum price to take – 9/4

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