Arsenal vs Bolton, Game In Hand, Match Preview… [Ahem, Snow?]

Update, game postponed

Arsenal: “Despite making every effort to stage tonight’s match against Bolton Wanderers, the sudden and unpredicted adverse change in weather conditions in the Highbury area has left us no choice but topostpone the fixture. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused and wish to state that this decision was not made lightly and supporters’ safety and travel arrangements were major factors in our thinking. The Club will announce the revised date for this match in due course and all tickets currently held will be valid for the rearranged fixture.”

Boys and girls, it’s finally here – the game in hand. With the game tomorrow looking like the only game going ahead, with the Man United versus Man City game already postponed. I don’t have to stress how important the game is tonight – as we all know a win will see us leapfrog Man United and go within 1 point of Chelsea. And after the losses to Sunderland, Man City and Chelsea who would have thought we’d be anywhere near Chelsea?

Team news ahead of the game is that both Arshavin and Denilson are back in the squad and if they are fit, then I’d expect them both to start. Denilson is the cover for Song whilst he is away and many people thought he would not be available for tonight’s game – which has caused worry, because without Denilson and Song, who can play the defensive midfield role and offer a physical presence – the question doesn’t have to be answered for tonight, but may have to be answered at some point during the month.

Arsene has been waxing lyrical about Denilson and I know a lot of fans haven’t taken to the Brazilian yet, but he was one of the top ten best midfielders in the league last year in terms of passing ahead of the likes of Xabi Alonso etc.

“Alex Song has been very consistent but we always knew before the season that he would be missing during January. We have players who can play in the same position. Denilson is an all-rounder. He can play this role and come in for Song without a problem. People don’t notice how important he is for us, he can play in every single position in midfield.  He has 150 games in the Premier League and is very strong in reading the game and winning the ball back. Although Song and Denilson can play together, they have similar qualities.”

Okay, time to guess the squad and having read a few of the comments last night, I do concur with the general consensus:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Traore

Denilson – Diaby

Nasri – Ramsey – Arshavin

Eduardo

After some not so good performances this season, it’s good to see Eduardo getting back into it and scoring goals. He’s reclaimed the striking role and should start up front. Carlos Vela has been equally impressive on the left, and is starting to figure in my thoughts as an impact sub – with some many games coming up, I’m sure we’ll see more of the Mexican too.

[Update: Wednesday Morning - Game is still going on, but rated 50:50, depending on what can be done to ease the transport system this morning, we'll get another update soon]

Talking about transfers, Arsene has been quoted quite a lot to buy players such as Dzeko or Chamakh, and he’s not going to bow down to the clubs demanding high fees.

“It’s my responsibility to spend the money in the right way. Why should I splash it out and pay 10 [million pounds] for a player who is worth five? It’s normal that you buy the players for the right price. If [Lionel] Messi is available maybe you would spend the money. But you look at the financial situations of many clubs in England and it is because when the income was one they spend two. There is an abnormality of the market because one or two clubs don’t need to look at the money, they just put the pressure on everybody else.”

Of course, the problem is that the clubs don’t want to sell their best players. Why would it be in the interests of Wolfsburg to sell their prize player for half the price they want? If they value him at £20m, no-one will buy him and he will therefore stay and provide quality to the team. Of course, if a player wants to leave, expresses a desire to leave, or becomes unhappy, then it becomes a different story.

Okay, time to sum up… Snow? Falling? Will the game still happen… let’s wait and see what happens… will Bolton fans get to the game? Never mind that, will Arsenal fans even get to the game?

Snow, snow, go away, come back another day!

  • Sam

    Stoke-Fulham game was played, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for our game to move along too. but let’s be realistic, there are more important things than our desire to watch some beautiful football (read 3 points) tonight.

  • jeffvip

    Stoke score 3 goals… i kinda worried bcos we have to meet them on the next FA Cup trip. I guess we wouldnt have the luxury of resting player anymore

  • vj

    agree withthe line up dev, onlychange wenger might make would be to play rosicky insteados ramsey

  • Yemi

    More prayers for another 3 points !!! When we get those 3 points, i know the players will be more motivated cos they are in striking distance of chelsea. That would also put chelsea under pressure. We would also be under pressure not to let man U overtake us again !!! I hope we will continue the good run, november is gone, time to put on an unbeaten run !!!

  • Kuka

    ….Just wondering why no one is really interested in Ryan Babel. I know BFC have showed some interest and I wonder if it wont turn out to be a great bargain for Mcleish. On his day, he is an excellent player. One thing I like about Arsenal is that, however poor you are as a striker, you will always get chances to score, because I would argue that we are currently the best team – going forward. I like Ryan’s pace and he can dribble too. He is not the biggest, but remember before he left for Liverpool, Arsen was an admirer of his……

  • Arsefan101

    @Sam – The Stoke – Fulham game was before the 6 inches of London snow – the problem in London is that no1 can deal with the snow! The trains will be done and everything!

    @jeffvip – I think Fulham were cr*p and that’s why Stoke won!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Looks as if Carlton Cole is a target for AW but only if B52 fails a fitness test on Friday.

    We still need cover at right back as we only have Eboue who can step in also need another CB if Senderos departs.

    Lets hope the game goes ahead today, it would be great to go above the Manc’s.

  • devday

    @vj – I honestly don’t think Rosicky will start – especially considering how good Ramsey has been lately! Unless Arsene adopts the strategy of play Rosicky when he is fit because he may be an injury tomorrow!!

  • devday

    @Kuka – Ryan Babel could be a good addition if Arsene could get him on the cheap – he’s built in the Arsenal mould not the Liverpool one! We could turn him into a superstar!

  • goonerman

    i live around the st albans area and its about 8 inches of snow ! so i wont be getting to the game tonight!! no transport BUMMER! hope the game goes ahead we dont want our game in hand being played a month down the line! i agree with devday rosicky is not at his fittest still and playing him from the start will risk an injury again which is what we dont need and ramsey looks so cool in the centre there is no reason to take him out! he deserves his chance hes getting!

  • devday

    @Goonerman, this has just been released by Arsenal:

    At the present time, we expect that tonight’s match against Bolton Wanderers will be played as scheduled.

    However, the Club is continuing to monitor weather conditions and is in regular contact with the transport authorities.

    A further update will be given by mid-afternoon and will be advised through all available communication channels including on Arsenal.com.

  • http://twitter.com/DebsGooner Debs

    I live in St Albans as well, goonerman, but I WILL be getting to the game by public transport as well!

  • devday

    @goneerman, @debs, maybe start your journey now?

  • goonerman

    i thought the trains were cancelling journeys so i didnt think id be going but iv got a way of getting there now but the snow looks like its coming down hard in london! we reallly need the snow to be stopping soon i think they will be announcing for definate soon if the match is going ahead im gonna head there now and just hope for the best! arshavin must be gagging to get out in the snow HAHA

  • Kuka

    …. I thought I would talk about another player that I feel
    the premier league has not appreciated much…..Benni McCarthy. I
    think he has been so unlucky to play for a team that is extremely defense-minded. He did so well at Porto because fo his style of play. Am not sure if he is past his best, but I think Big Sam would take 3mil for the South African. I would not mind having him on my bench

  • devday

    Just spoke to a lady and she said there will be an announcement on Arsenal.com before 4pm. Announcement? What does that mean?

    Let’s wait and see!

  • wills

    Game is off :(

    Don’t know when it’s going to be re-arranged for. How about next Wednesday?

  • devday

    Game has officially been postponed. Rumours are that it will be rescheduled to next week.

  • devday

    @wills, yes, I think you’re right!

  • Sam

    Really dissappointed. Somehow this game remains “in hand”.

    According to weather . com, it’s only light snow in London… but it’s going to be heavy snow on Saturday & Sunday. Wonder if Everton will be affected.

  • wills

    @Sam, I’m living in London and working at Waterloo, can totally understand why it was called off due to supporters safety. Hopefully we will get the game organised for some time soon. We want to get it out of the way. It should be a routine win *touch wood* and it’s 3 points we need.

  • Kuka

    ….the brighter side is that our players get to continue recovering, the bitter side is that Owen Coyle gets a chance to reform Bolton before we play them. Also our fixture continues to be congested given the way the Stoke FA fixture down the calender. I hope we pitch survives Everton…

  • Kuka

    *the pitch

  • hello

    .
    BOLLOCKS!! IT BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO THE WEATHER!!

    I really hope this does not prove costly come the end of the season!! Playing a managerless bolton at home could have been a nice easy 3 points (no offence to bolton)!!

    Now we will probobly meet them after Owen Coyle comes in (or whoever else) and they’ll have the added boost and freshness of a new manager and tactics!!

    I REALLY REALLY HOPE THE WEATHER HASN’T SCREWED US!!

  • goonerman

    this is so annoying! getting that game in hand done quickly and hopefully winning would of been good ! HOPEFULLY the game can be played in the next couple of weeks instead of 2 months down the line! to be fair it was out of the hands of arsenal it was the idiotic health and safety that say its to dangerous to walk around in a few centimetres of snow! like some people of saying it gives the lads a good rest and luckily everton is at home so its not like we go straight to an away game! health and safety are actually SAD!!

  • devday

    Guys – rumours about the reschedule are Jan 13th or Jan 20th.

    Either date would see us play Bolton twice in two days!

  • Adeniyi

    Has anyone seen this report.
    Arsenal target CFR Cluj striker Lacina Traore .. Wenger sure knows how to find them…..

    According to several reports from Romania, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is considering making a move for promising Cluj youngster Lacina Traore.

    The Premier League contenders are in the market for a new striker due to the injury worries of both Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner and Wenger is believed to be keen to add to his ranks sooner rather than later.

    Arsenal have been linked with players such as Marouane Chamakh, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Carlton Cole in the past couple of weeks, but they have now allegedly turned their attention to Traore.

    The towering forward can also play in midfield and impressed during Cluj’s Europa League campaign earlier this season. The Romanians have reportedly set a €4 million asking price for the 19-year-old.

  • vj

    it could be true wenger said a deal is in place and id b52 fails the test on friday then he will move in so we shall see

  • vj

    hes 6ft 8inches!!

  • debs

    Ah, good thing I didn’t take your advice and leave home at 1pm, Dev! Lol. Shame the game’s cancelled though. But I can’t believe TalkSport were blaming US for calling the match off; saying it’s because of our glove-wearing foreigners! How rude! Apparently they even suggested Bolton get the 3 points! A whole load of rubbish, I’d say!

  • Francis

    Guys who is Lacina Traore ? never heard of him. At 6ft 8inches could be a master stroke only if he is quick on his feet.

  • Kuka