I've waited to write the blog today until after the Chelsea vs United game so I could review the weekend of football in total.
Before I start, I've just watched the video about the new version of Football Manager, it's pretty amazing. The major new feature is the 3D match engine which allows you to watch the game if it was on TV. You can see the moment of the players, their runs, their shots and the goals. It's pretty awesome stuff. Check out the video below...
Bolton 1 – 3 Arsenal
Davies 14, Eboue 26, Bendtner 27, Denilson 87
Yesterday’s performance was a strong show of character. It was a busy week with an away game at Blackburn last week and a tough mid week game against Dynamo Kyiv. A lot of travelling and a lot of football and Bolton away was a real test. A test that became harder when we went 1 – 0 behind to a Kevin Davies standing header from a rare first half Bolton corner. It was a strange time to go behind and reminiscent of previous encounters up north. We were on top and had started well, carving our way through the Bolton defence, seemingly a little shot shy though.
The line up saw Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie rested and Niklas Bendtner and Eboue come in. The midfield four of Cesc, Song, Denilson and Eboue did move around a lot with all four players appearing all over the pitch, but Denilson and Eboue played mostly on the wings with Cesc and Song in the middle.
The play (goal aside) was pretty good and it looked like a game that we could win. Bolton only threat was the long ball, and Toure wasn’t convincing in the battle with Davies and the goal came in a Davies vs Toure challenge, which Davies won and Clichy (on the line) couldn’t clear. The good thing was that we didn’t panic and continued to ply the Bolton defence open. Toure had a real chance to equalise shortly after when the ball bounced nicely to him outside the area, but he smashed it wide. We were starting to turn the grind and Ade hit the post twice and Song hit the post once – was it going to be one of those days? Not if we could help it…
The equaliser came on the 26th play when intricite play from Bendtner saw Eboue slid the ball under the keeper. It was about half a foot off side but very hard to see from the assistant.
Within a minute or so, we we ahead as some excellent play put Denilson down the left who showed a burst of pace and crossed low. Bendtner, behind two defenders one moment, ran to the near post and slid the ball past the keeper. A good goal and into the lead.
We were in domination of the remainder of the half and the half ended with a really nasty challenge on Clichy by Kevin Davies. The player should have been sent off. It was pretty awful.
Clichy was substituted at half time and we next saw him out in crutches.
The second was better from Bolton, but it was a game were we seemed confident and resolute in defence. Song playing well in front of the back four and a very positive sign. Bolton’s half time talk was obviously “cross it as much as you can” and that’s exactly what they did.
A few ahs and ohs, nearly chances, but the introduction of Theo Walcott gave us the impetus and it was an amazing run from Theo that led to the third goal. Seemingly determined to take on the whole Bolton defence, our young Englishman drove through the heart of the pitch from literally the half way line. Releasing to Ade just in time, who squared to the oncoming Denilson.
The game ended 3-1 and it was a thoroughly deserved victory.
The manager spoke after the game:
“It was a convincing, united and classy performance. We were strong everywhere a team can be strong that means physically and technically. Even in the second half when we needed to defend we showed the resilient aspects of our game. That makes me think we are maturing very quickly. I believe that the attitude of this team is right.”
Arsene also spoke about the challenge on Clichy:
“You will smile but I did not really see the impact of the challenge. Gael was in front of me but I watched the ball as it went back to William Gallas. There was 30 seconds to go I said to Gael let’s keep the ball. I need to see it on the video again. It was a shin injury. That proves that the tackle was quite high. Was it an accident? Only Davies can answer that.”
In the other games, Chelsea and United drew 1 – 1 which means that we’re officially top of the league. With Sp*rs being held 0-0 at home to Wigan, we’re top and Sp*rs are bottom. Brilliant.
Football Manager Video: