Bolton v West Brom Monday January 21, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports
Bolton fighting on and off field
Bolton remain entrenched in the Championship's relegation zone after losing their one-goal lead at in-form Bristol City last weekend. The Trotters, who have endured a torrid start to 2019 off the pitch, had gone ahead against the run of play when Will Buckley headed Sammy Ameobi's cross home just before the hour mark.
However, the Robins fought back to score twice in the space of three minutes soon after. The result capped a difficult seven days for relegation-threatened Wanderers, who have two winding-up petitions reportedly looming and a potential third to be filed by Forest Green Rovers who became embroiled in a bitter public dispute with Bolton.
Boss Phil Parkinson has reiterated a need to "focus on the football" with the club facing a run-in that is "as big as anything the club's had in its history". The hosts will need to make-do without injured forward Yanic Wildschut here, whilst first-choice goalkeeper Ben Alnwickis now a major doubt with club still unable to extend understudy Remi Matthews' deal.
West Brom's winless Championship streak extended to three games last weekend when the Baggies were unable to hold on for maximum points against Norwich at The Hawthorns. Darren Moore's men took a 13th-minute lead with Dwight Gayle notching his 14th goal of the season from Mason Holgate's cross, but Albion conceding seven minutes from time.
The Baggies would have gone third in the Championship had they held on, although Moore remained positive post-match following his team's efforts, saying: "I'm really pleased for the team and with the performance. I thought we limited Norwich brilliantly with our work off the ball and when we had possession, we used it well at times and created chances."
Star forward Jay Rodriguez seems set to stay with West Brom until the end of the season despite Premier League interest, a boost for the Baggies after seeing Harvey Barnes recalled from his loan at Leicester. There's no new selection concerns for Moore coming into Monday with his squad returning from a five-day training camp in Dubai refreshed.
Baggies backed to deliver
Recently-relegated West Brom have bagged a sole success in 13 trips to Bolton since 1992- that came during their promotion-winning campaign in 2000/01 and Albion will be hoping for a similar result when they head to Lancashire on Monday night.
WBA are rated 1.81 favourites to clinch maximum points here having racked up a league-high 55 goals in their 27 tussles this term, averaging 1.70 xG per-game and 1.13 xG from open-play on average - both divisional best figures. Albion have W8-D4-L3 against bottom-half opposition and scored twice or more in five of seven trips to the lesser lights.
Bolton are backable at 5.30 but were 5.94 when welcoming Leeds and barely came close to hurting the Championship pace-setters before Christmas. The Trotters have W2-D6-L15since mid-August, scoring just 12 goals across those 34-and-a-half hours of league action, as well as losing seven of 10 ties when welcoming clubs in 14th and above.
What's more, only Ipswich are firing in a lower xG return than Wanderers' 0.71 this season, and their measly 0.43 xG from open play per-game. The hosts timid attack could prove their undoing here and a selection supporting West Brom is recommended.
Goals could be on the cards
Having failed to score in 14 of their past 23 Championship clashes, it's no surprise to see Bolton's matches are far from high-scoring - only 10/27 (37%) have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals 1.89 backers with games averaging just 2.15 goals per-game. Nevertheless, half of their eight encounters at home to top-half teams have produced at least three goals.
Meanwhile, West Brom's second-tier fixtures have featured a divisional-high 3.33 goals per-game as 16 (59%) have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers, including 8/13 (62%) on their travels. Albion have seen both sides score on 21 (78%) occasions as they've managed to keep their sheets clean in a divisional-low three outings since returning to this level.
My hunch is to support goals again but the odds are fair enough considering we'll be seeing arguably the league's poorest offence taking on the Championship's most menacing forwardline, therefore I'll happily swerve a goals-based bet here.