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Manchester United play host to Bolton at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday 17 October 2009. United have Rooney and Owen out to injury but Edwin van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand should return to the starting lineup, although Hargreaves is still a month away. Despite the absence of Rooney Bolton will have a fight on their hands – they have lost all of their last six meetings at Old Trafford including a 2-0 defeat last season.
The match starts at 15:00 GMT. Team news after the jump.
Manchester United Preview
Wayne Rooney will face a race against time to play for Manchester United as he recovers from a calf injury sustained in England’s 1-0 defeat against Ukraine on Saturday.
The England forward withdrew from the England squad ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Belarus to receive treatment in Manchester and is questionable for Saturday’s fixture.
All the same, Sir Alex Ferguson will fancy his chances as Manchester United have not lost to Bolton at Old Trafford since 2003.
Man United are looking to rebound from a poor performance against Sunderland in their last Premier League match. Man Utd were lucky to earn a draw as a 90th minute own goal by Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio, salvaged a point and saved total embarrassment for Ferguson.
Rio Ferdinand was rested and Jonny Evans received the start in his place against Sunderland, though after playing 180 minutes for England this week, it is expected that Ferdinand will resume his role in the heart of the defence for United alongside Nemanja Vidic.
Ferdinand could potentially be a key figure as Man Utd have uncharacteristically conceded a large number of goals in recent weeks.
Dimitar Berbatov is coming fresh off of a hat-trick he scored for Bulgaria as they crushed Georgia 6-2.
Bolton have been putting in their typical “ground-and-pound” performances that spectators have grown accustomed to over the past few seasons. They rarely get played off the pitch, though their victories are hardly of the dominant form.
Gary Megson’s team travel to Old Trafford for this fixture with their form curve pointing upward.
Bolton drew 2-2 with Tottenham in their most recent Premier League match, but may consider themselves a bit unlucky as they were ahead twice, but unable to slam the door on Harry Redknapp’s side.
Chung-Yong Lee has looked exciting for Bolton since transferring from FC Seoul.
Ivan Klasnic, who has been loaned in from Nantes, has struggled since kidney problems halted a prosperous career at Werder Bremen.
Anyone who watched Werder Bremen approximately five or six years ago knows that the player has phenomenal ability, and if he were to rediscover half of the form he had while at Werder Bremen, he would be a huge lift for Bolton’s attacking options.
Manchester United v Bolton Prediction
Last season’s meeting between these sides at Old Trafford ended in a 2-0 United victory, and the reverse fixture also saw the Red Devils triumph, this time by a scoreline of 1-0.
Whether Wayne Rooney plays or not, Ferguson should have enough firepower at his disposal to deal with a feisty Bolton side.
Prediction: Man Utd 2 – Bolton 0