MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) shares his thoughts on Monday night’s Championship showdown between Bolton and Brentford.
Bolton v Brentford | Monday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
The bottom of the Championship table looks bleak for Bolton fans coming into Monday night’s match with Brentford but there’s plenty of reason to believe the Trotters can get something from this Macron Stadium encounter.
Neil Lennon’s men are 11 games without a win and have managed just W1-D8-L8 sit rock bottom of the second-tier and five points from safety. However, owner Eddie Davies has agreed to write off the club’s huge debt to help aid a sale of the cash-strapped club, raising Wanderers supporters’ spirits.
Injuries have taken their toll on Bolton’s season so far – highly-rated youngster Zach Clough is on the long-term list and Arsenal loanee Wellington is also crocked – leaving the hosts relying upon old-stagers Emile Heskey, Shola Ameobi and journeyman Gary Madine in attacking areas.
You don’t need a rocket scientist to see it’s the final third where the Trotters are struggling and their 11-goal tally from 17 matches is comfortably the worst in the division. Lennon’s men have failed to net on 10 occasions already and scored more than once in only three outings.
But Bolton remain a tough nut to crack at the Macron, especially under the former Celtic boss’ watch. Since Lennon arrived in Greater Manchester, Wanderers have recorded W9-D12-L4 in front of their home fans – that’s a loss-rate of just 16%. Across those 25 fixtures, they’ve conceded more than one goal just four times.
In 2015/16, the Trotters home record reads W1-D6-L1 and I have to admit, I’m slightly surprised to see the hosts chalked up as outsiders for this contest. Sure, Brentford are back on track and have climbed back into the top-half of the table, but I’m unwilling to get involved on the Bees at quotes as short as 6/4 here.
Lee Carsley deserves much credit for turning around the Londoners’ wayward form. The caretaker has managed W5-D1-L1 in his last seven – the only blemish coming against high-flying Hull – but did say last week’s 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest was his last in charge.
The Bees have produced the goods consistently against the league’s lesser lights – the visitors have won 23 of their 24 points against sides below in the standings (W7-D2-L0) compared to a W0-D1-L7 return against clubs in 10th and above. But Brentford have conceded in 14 of their 17 fixtures and their unreliable defence will be missing Harlee Dean on Monday night.
Dean’s started every match this season and the Bees have won just one of the last 10 road trips he’s missed (W1-D3-L6) and that came against last season’s bottom club Blackpool – Brentford’s only clean sheet in that 10-game run came against last year’s second-bottom side Wigan.
Finally, it’s worth noting that, despite Bolton’s poor goalscoring record, the Trotters are averaging just 0.59 shots-on-target per-game fewer than Brentford. The guests are also facing more on-target attempts in the league than their hosts and all the performance data points towards the Trotters pinching a win sooner than later.
We can back Bolton at 28/29 with 888 in the draw no bet market, which holds plenty of appeal when regaling that stat on home losses under Lennon (four in 25). But I’m also going to have a wee poke on Under 2.5 Goals at 19/20 with Bet365 considering it’s won in 8/10 Bolton fixtures at the Macron as well as 8/11 of Brentford’s most recent road trips.
Bolton v Brentford – Bolton draw no bet (28/29 888)
Bolton v Brentford – Under 2.5 Goals (19/20 Bet365)
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