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Mid-season report: Bolton Wanderers

Mid-season report: Bolton
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks at where it's gone wrong for Bolton as 2011 comes to a close.

After taking positive steps last season, the Trotters' following would have been optimistic that their side could enjoy this campaign free of any relegation worries. How wrong they were.

Bolton Wanderers will enter 2012 in the Premier League's bottom three, with Owen Coyle's fledgling managerial career under scrutiny for the first time.

Here is Sports Mole's assessment of how Bolton have fared so far this season.

August

It all started so well. They kicked off their campaign with a 4-0 victory over newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers before a valiant 3-2 loss to big-spending Manchester City.

Despite another defeat at the hands of Liverpool, progression in the Carling Cup meant that it was 2 wins and 2 losses for the Trotters during the season's opening weeks.

Furthermore, the club were able to maintain the services of prize asset Gary Cahill, who had attracted interest from North London pair Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

September

If the Bolton faithful were upbeat regarding Cahill's continued employment at the club, Manchester United soon brought them crashing down. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez shared the goals as September began with a 5-0 thrashing at the Reebok Stadium.

Carling Cup victory over Aston Villa did little to rectify the disappointment of a home defeat to Norwich, while the month ended as it started, with another convincing defeat. On this occasion, a Robin Van Persie-inspired Arsenal were 3-0 victors at the Emirates.

October

The start of October was almost a mirror image of how the previous month had begun for Owen Coyle's side. Chelsea put five past a leaky defence which was fast losing confidence and although the fixture list had been unkind, their record of one win from seven games was far from what the Trotters fans were hoping for.

A crucial win at fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic was a rare bright moment in a torrid period for the club. Carling Cup exit at Arsenal followed by league defeats against Swansea City and Sunderland left Bolton second from bottom at the end of October.

November

In stark contrast to the previous months, November got underway in fine style for the Trotters as they trashed Stoke City 5-0 at the Reebok. This result remains their only home victory of the year thus far.

Maybe then the international break came at a bad time for Coyle and his players. After a two-week absence from league action, they suffered consecutive defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Everton.

December

Further failures to Spurs, Villa and Fulham made it five losses on the bounce and the pre-season optimism surrounding the Reebok was nowhere to be seen.

For the first time during his reign at Bolton and his managerial career, Coyle was under pressure. So much so that defeat at Blackburn Rovers would have seen the end of his time with the club, according to reports.

Fortunately for Coyle, Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Coker goals earned Wanderers a vital 2-1 win, in a clash billed as a relegation six-pointer. Once again however, Wanderers could not build on the result and recorded another home loss, this time to Alan Pardew's impressive Newcastle United.

As the cliché goes, the stats don't lie. To date, Bolton have lost the most matches, have the fewest home points and have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this year.

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