Kevin Davies put the home side ahead after a open start in the fourteenth minute, making the most of their superior aerial ability, heading in a corner kick. Arsenal responded immediately with a chance from Toure while Song and Adebayor both hit the post.
The goal was coming as Bolton were cut open by the passing and movement and it seemed Arsenal, especially Fabregas had an age to work the ball at the edge of the box and when he gave the ball the Bendtner, the Dane rolled in for Eboue to score. The goal seemed offside but the linesman’s view will no doubt have been covered by a wall of players and also the possibility of Adebayor touching the ball on to Eboue. It was the Ivorian’s first Arsenal goal looking to justify Wenger’s faith in keeping him in midfield.
The second came soon after the ball coming out wide to Denilson and his left foot cross was converted by a sliding Bendtner. It was a much improved display from the Brazilian and indeed the Dane as both had more space to work. Gael Clichy was injured from hard tackle from Kevin Davies though made more awkward as the full back stepped on the ball as the tackle was made.
The second half was down to Bolton to pile up the pressure and tested Almunia. But Arsenal countered and a late goal was the reward, Denilson tapped home from Walcott’s cross who also had a late chance to make it four but was denied by Jaaskelainen.
Arsenal started in a what looked like a diamond formation with the central midfielders allowed to alternate and move freely. The players took time to get adjusted but once they did the Gunners moved in full flow but in truth the Bolton was not good enough to handle the Gunners movement (as predicted in our Match Preview). The inclusion of Song was added to match the physical nature of Bolton but the problem was dealing with the high balls. At first the Gunners looked to have trouble but as the game wore on the defence coped well and Djourou’s introduction seemed to steady the ship.
Bolton are not the team they were under Allardyce and technical very poor. Nolan was a threat but playing in a three man midfield for all these years has taken the responsibility of defending off him somewhat. Arsenal should have created more such was the quality of the opposition midfield but the Gunners midfield has yet to be tested. Bring on Chelsea and United to see the full potential.
Arsenal: Almunia (7), Sagna (6), Toure (7), Gallas (7), Clichy (6) (Djourou 6), Eboue (7) (Ramsey 5), Fabregas (8), Song Billong (7), Denilson (8), Adebayor (7), Bendtner (7) (Walcott 7)
Subs not used: Fabianski, Van Persie, Vela, Gibbs.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen (7), Steinsson (5), Shittu (5), Andrew O’Brien (5), Samuel (5), Joey O’Brien (5) (McCann 6), Smolarek (4) (Riga 6), Muamba (6) (Vaz Te 5), Nolan (6,) Gardner (5), Davies (7)
Subs not used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Helguson, Cohen.
Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas– The stats may show Denilson one goal, one assist but the Spaniard kept Arsenal ticking and was the catalyst in getting them in the lead.
Performance Rating: 3/5- A strange one to rate. The opposition midfield was not that good as they couldn’t cope with the movement especially in the first half and we all know Arsenal could paly better. A win is a win though.
|Bolton Wanderers||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||2|
|6||Shots on Target||6|
|4||Shots off Target||11|