Match Preview + Tactics: Bolton v Arsenal

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Adebayor, Bendtner.

Subs: Fabianski, Van Persie, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Djourou, Gibbs.

Likely Line-up (4-4-2)


Sagna – Toure – Gallas(c) – Clichy

 Denilson – Fabregas – Song – Eboue

Bendtner – Adebayor



Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Shittu, Andrew O’Brien, Samuel, Joey O’Brien, Smolarek, Muamba, Nolan, Gardner, Davies.

Subs: Al Habsi, Hunt, Riga, Helguson, McCann, Vaz Te, Cohen.


Likely Line-up (4-5-1)


Steinsson – Shittu – A O’Brien- Samuel

Smolarek – J O’Brien – Muamba – Nolan (c) – Gardner


Tactics Talk

Arsenal will play their customary 4-4-2 today while Bolton manager Gary Megson has made no secret of how they are going to approach the game. They are likely to come at Arsenal hard and close down early not allowing the midfielders to play especially Denilson who is probably going to play deeper. The previous meeting at Reebok Park where the Gunners came back to win 3-2 the same tactic applied whereby dispossessing Flamini led to the second goal.

The problem will be if the Trotters can handle Arsenal’s superior technique and movement and they showed their frailties in this area when they were soundly beaten by Aston Villa 4-0 at the end of last season and recently against Fulham. They are likely to be direct playing high balls to Kevin Davies and crosses wide from Gardner and O’Brien.

Arsene Wenger last season played with Bendtner and Van Persie up front from the start and the Gunners rarely threatened though the Dane is likely to start after being rested against Blackburn. Arsenal have improved against the physical sides and Bolton have not been the same since Sam Allardyce left.

Key Battles

Muamba, McCann and Nolan v Denilson and Fabregas

Bolton were criticised for playing three hard men against Fulham who apart from Nolan are very technical. It is a far cry from the Bolton midfield that possessed both traits in Campo, Okocha and Stelios. It will be the greatest physical test Denilson has faced this season as the opposition midfield have been very poor. The speed and movement should be too much for the threesome but expect some crunching tackles.

J Lloyd Samuel v Theo Walcott

After the form Walcott has been in recently Samuel should have no chance against the England winger. Samuel isn’t the greatest position wise but does possess a fair amount of pace. If Theo gets on top expect Arsenal to triumph.


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