Tottenham welcome Bolton to White Hart Lane on Saturday, hoping to earn their 11th league victory over the Lancastrians.
Spurs have marginally edged the encounters over the years, winning ten games to Bolton’s eight. Spurs took full advantage of Bolton’s yo-yo club status in the mid-nineties and early-noughties, remaining unbeaten against the Trotters for six matches until Jay-Jay Okocha’s 90th minute penalty won Bolton their first Premier League match against the Liliywhites.
Both teams have shown remarkable strength at home over the years, Bolton winning seven and drawing four of their 12 home matches and Spurs winning eight and only losing the two games at the Lane, in 2003 and 2004.
Spurs have dominated their North-West opponents at the Lane, scoring 21 goals to Bolton’s 11 and only failing to score once. Much of that is down to Tottenham’s second-half form. Of their 21 home goals, 13 have come in the second half, so Owen Coyle may need to make his half-time team talk a good one if his struggling Bolton side are to contain the likes of Adebayor and Defoe.
Talking of strikers, there is one player Spurs must deal with if they are to keep the pressure on the two Manchesters at the top of the table. That man is Kevin Davies who appears to relish playing against the Lilywhites. The burly captain has scored seven goals against Spurs in the Premier League, including a brace in the two teams’ most recent match up at the Reebok. This is one more than the next highest goalscorer in this fixture, who is, as usual, Robbie Keane on six. Recently though, Niko Kranjcar has been Tottenham’s saviour, netting Spurs’ first equaliser at the Reebok in 2009 and then going one further in 2011 by earning Spurs all three points with that memorable 90th minute screamer at White Hart Lane.
Bolton clearly will be needing all three points to reignite their survival bid, but history suggests there may be an extra incentive for the Trotters. The only two times they have beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane, and then gone on to do the double over them, they have finished above the Lilywhites in the table. Admittedly this was during Tottenham’s difficult transitional phase under David Pleat, Jacques Santini and the early days of Martin Jol’s tenure, but hope for the Trotters still.
And finally, as with last week, Tottenham will be hoping that playing at 3pm on a Saturday once again will come up trumps for them. Spurs have won all three of their traditionally timed games this season and hope that Bolton’s trip will result in another maximum haul.
By Jamie Frier
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