Manchester United face their second bottom three opponents in four days when Bolton Wanderers visit Old Trafford.
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Manchester United went top of the Premiership on the weekend when they defeated rock-bottom Derby County and third from bottom Bolton Wanderers are Alex Ferguson’s team’s next opponents. United left it late to beat whipping boys Derby and the Rams looked set to record a famous draw until Ronaldo netted the winner with 15 minutes left. The victory was United’s 21st in 29 league matches this season and took them above Arsenal at the Premiership summit. Ferguson opted to rotate his squad, leaving out Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Tevez but both will be expected to play some part in preparation for Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Bolton look like a team in real trouble at the moment. Manager Gary Megson opted to take a fringe side to Portugal last week for their UEFA Cup match against Sporting Lisbon in preparation for their Premiership match against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic on Sunday. The plan backfired as the Trotters were dumped out of Europe, their only hope of any glory this season and subsequently lost 1-0 to a Wigan side which had Jason Koumas sent off after just five minutes.
United were defeated 1-0 at Bolton in November, when Nicolas Anelka scored after just 11 minutes, but just six wins all season means the Trotters are in real danger of relegation. United have beaten Bolton at Old Trafford by 4-1 scorelines in the last two seasons. Last March saw Wayne Rooney and Ji Sung Park score two apiece before Gary Speed netted a consolation penalty and the campaign before saw Speed briefly equalise after a Bruno N’Gotty own goal gave the Reds the lead. However, a strike from Louis Saha and two from Ronaldo wrapped up a comfortably win for United.
Manchester United struggled past Derby County on the weekend but must collect another three points against another poor side in Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday. With Chelsea breathing down their necks, the Reds cannot afford any slip ups against this calibre of opponent, especially with an in-form Liverpool side visiting Old Trafford on Sunday. Bolton last won at Old Trafford in the 2002/03 campaign when Kevin Nolan grabbed a late winner but with just one victory on the road this season, Gary Megson’s side are in danger of being on the receiving end of a pasting.