Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal, Saturday 20th September 2008

It's match day and a very exciting match day today. We take on Bolton up at the Reebok and it promises to be a very special day out. With the Carling Cup squad on duty on Tuesday against Sheffield United, the first team will not have a midweek game. With players such as Bendtner and Vela probably used in the Carling Cup, I doubt they start this game.

Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, Reebok Stadium
Saturday, September 20, 2008, 17:30
Live on Setanta Sports 1 from 4pm

Let’s take a look at the League table…

As things stand, we’ve got 9 points from 4 games – 3 wins and a loss. We’re behind the leaders by 1 point and ahead of Man United by 5 points, but we’ve played a game more.

With Liverpool playing Stoke earlier in the day, we’ll most likely start the game 4 points behind Liverpool. If we win we can go within one point and of course two points clear of Chelsea. United and Chelsea play each other on Sunday so if we win we really would make a difference as one of the other two have to lose, or both will have just point Sunday.

So, back to the game against Bolton. Coverage starts at 4pm and the game kicks off at 5.30pm.

In injury news, the French trio of Silvestre, Nasri and Diaby are all still out injured, Arsene commenting on these injuries;

“”The good news from last night is that nobody has come back with any knock or severe injury. We have no injuries from last night and we have no-one coming back as well, so the group will be stable.For Diaby, I would say two more weeks [until he is fit], Silvestre and Nasri should be available for Hull [at Emirates Stadium on September 27].”

Which means it could be a very similar team to the game against Blackburn. Arsene has been speaking about rotating the squad a little bit, but as I said earlier, it may not be too much, especially with a Carling Cup game midweek.

“There will be a little bit of rotation of course, because it was a very physical game and we had to give absolutely everything. But I cannot tell you yet how it will work.”

I’d expect the following line up:

Right Back
Centre Back
Centre Back
Left Back
Right Wing
Left Wing
Van Persie
Support Striker

With the following players on the bench: Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela, Bendtner.

Some reports are suggesting that Vela may start in place of Walcott, but with the English man in the form of his career at the moment, it may be hard for Arsene to leave him out. I’d expect all 7 members of the bench to start against Sheffield United, so it may be used sparingly too.

It should be an exciting game, albeit the Reebok is always a hard place to go to…

Come on you Gunners…!]]>

  • Mazza

    < ![CDATA[don’t tell me that Fabregas is tired because he didn’t have a pre season! His performance at Bolton was outstanding. Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev was thus explained and accepted by a lot of Arsenal fans.

    But there are a lot of other players that played in the final stages of the Euro who had a shortened pre season. Like Chelsea’s Deco and Bosingua as well as Liverpool’s Alonso for instance; and they do not seem to me to be suffering from fatigue.

    My reasoning for Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev had more to do with the tactics and formation adopted which demanded that he played out of his normal position further up field. This left very little space to weave his magic.

    Against Bolton at the Reebok Fabregas was reinstated in the centre of midfield where he belongs and he did indeed weave his magic. Surprisingly Bolton left spaces open in the midfield areas in the first half by not pressing or marking very tight. This allowed Fabregas to run the show and once you do that the result is almost inevitable!

    He was also very ably supported by Song. I think he will be the anchor in midfield now. The trouble for Wenger will be what to do with Denilson who had another fine game again scoring his second goal of the season. Maybe Nasri will have to stay on the bench for a while when he gets back to fitness.

    But the real revelation this season has to be Eboue. He has been putting some very fine performances and the main reason is that he is beginning to use his head.

    Gone are the displays where he would run like a headless chicken into cul de sacs and then more often than not give the ball away. Now he is much more patient when on the ball, looks up to see what’s on and invariably picks the right pass.

    He has the pace and defensive skills which when complimented with some nous create the ingredients for a very good wide midfielder. Let’s hope he keeps up the quality of his performances. The victory at Bolton is a fantastic tonic for everyone’s confidence including the players themselves.

    It was obtained by playing proper Arsenal type football which was complimented with resilience and stout defending when Bolton pressed very tight in the midfield areas in the second half not allowing the Arsenal players too much time on the ball.]]>