Arsenal 1 – Bolton 0 – Match report
It was almost another frustating draw for the Gunners as Bolton defended doggedly without ever truly threatening the Arsenal goal.
Here’s how Arsenal lined up :
Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy,
Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri,
Adebayor, Van Persie.
Bolton seemed to have come to Emirates looking for a goalless draw and the almost managed it, playing most of the game deep in their own half with everyone behind the ball.
Arsenal found it difficult to break through the ranks of Bolton defence, with Van Persie having a few speculative efforts in the first half but little else.
Arsenal perhaps should have scored in the second half when Nasri threaded an exquisite ball to open up Adebayor in front of goal, but the Togo striker could be said to have taken too long to settle on the ball, allowing O’Brien time to slide in to block Adebayor’s shot.
Arsenal went close again shortly after when Adebayor flicked on a Denilson pass to Van Persie, whose shot beat the keeper but was denied by the post.
It was starting to look like one of those days for Arsenal as Toure had a fizzing, skipping long effort saved by the sprawling O’Brien.
The 74th minute saw Bendtner coming on to replace Eboue, Bendtner getting on the end of a Nasri free-kick with his first touch, but his bouncing header was straight in the belly of the keeper.
Arsenal’s luck finally changed as they broke the deadlock on the 84th minute after a solid period of possession when Clichy sent Van Persie down the left wing who crossed back to substitute Bendtner sliding in at the far post to toe-poke past the keeper.
Van Persie and Nasri were the stand out players for Arsenal I feel, I personally am glad to see Van Persie back on the kind of form we all know he can produce after suffering through injuries so much last season.
It’s certainly important that Arsenal managed to force the win and the 3 points, as Villa and Everton both won their games, and a cursory glance at the Premiership table will show you Arsenal can definitely not afford to drop any points, especially in home games against the likes of Bolton.
Let’s sum this match report up with some quotes from Wenger about the game :
“We are already swimming enough against the stream not to drop points against Bolton. We were solid defensively and now we have won 1-0 three times, which is a good basis. We must just take it game by game because every match is difficult.”
“It was a difficult game with them having two deep lines, we could not find a way through and maybe our passing was not incisive enough. They were strong in the challenge and their only focus was to defend well.
It looked like it could be 0-0 as we never looked like conceding, but we did not create many chances and we finished in a good old-fashioned 4-2-4 to win the game.”