When the world moved into 2010, Bolton Wanderers were sitting 18th in the Premier League, they had won one game in ten, and just sacked manager Gary Megson.
With Owen Coyle taking over from Burnley, Bolton's fortunes soon changed. They gave a confident performance at the Emirates, taking a 2-0 lead only for Arsenal to fight back to a 4-2 win, but the improvement signs were there. Their first win was against Coyle's old club and moved them away from the relegation zone, but five more games without a win saw them back in the bottom three by the end of February.
New signings Jack Wilshere and Stuart Holden were beginning to shine, and in March Bolton showed their first real signs of what Coyle was trying to change about them. Wins against Wolves, West Ham and Wigan moved Bolton to 13th, and despite another run of four straight defeats, including a heavy home defeat to Manchester United , Bolton were sitting comfortably in 14th in May. Coyle had changed the football at the Reebok, and players such as Wilshere and Holden had helped that change take shape.
In the summer, Coyle carried on shaping his own footballing side, Martin Petrov, Robbie Blake and Ivan Klasnic all signed on and Coyle showed his attacking intent, and youngsters Marcos Alonso and Rodrigo Moreno signed as Bolton looked towards the future.
Bolton's team now is so more strong at the back, and the revitalised front line is the best Bolton have had in years. Jussi Jaaskelainen is ever reliable in goal, and the central defence of the steady Zat Knight and the improving Gary Cahill form the basis for a much stronger home record, where the Wanderers have lost just once this season.
Lee Chung-Yong has carried on his excellent form, whilst Stuart Holden and Fabrice Muamba have formed a brilliant midfield partnership, and Mark Davies has proved ever capable when called upon. Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander complement each other upfront and the Swedish striker has certainly showed what he can do so far.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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