Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal… Away Leg

It’s back to the Premiership this weekend with some very interesting ties later today. At 12.45, Stoke entertain Liverpool at the Brtiannia in what could be an explosive encounter, with Liverpool really struggling for form this season and Stoke very strong at home. The other members of the top three, Chelsea and Man United play Sunderland and Burnley respectively – with both games being played at home. There is a real test for Mancini as Man City play Everton away, but come Sunday, we could (and probably will) see Chelsea six points ahead of us.

So, with the draw at home to Everton still fresh in our minds, it’s time to get back to winning ways against Bolton at the Reebok this Sunday. Bolton have been buoyed by the fact they’ve replace Megson with Owen Coyle – who in my eyes is a very good manager – he has a lot of respect for his players and additionally plays in a way in which football is supposed to play. I just hope he tries to play well and the players can’t cope – as it’s his first game in charge.

We, however, have our talismanic captain returning to the team and that’s very good news. Cesc is probably THE most important player in the team and news is that he has recovered fully and more than able to start the game. Our line up tomorrow should be:


Sagna – Gallas – Vermalen – Clichy

Eastmond – Diaby

Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin


As you can see, it looks like we will also have Clichy back – and if you remember the Everton game and how out of depth Traore was, it’s a welcomed return at left back. Personally, I think Eastmond will start the game too as he is defensive minded and with the absences of Song and Denilson, we need someone who can play that role and think defence first. I remember in the Carling Cup, the young lad didn’t look out of place at all. Diaby will offer the driving force bridging defence and attack and also a height for those aerial balls.

Going back to Cesc and I really think the boy has come of age this season, to the point where his presence on the pitch and desire to win could really, honestly help us win the league. Arsene was in the press yesterday talking about Cesc and how he’s matured – saying:

“I believe he is more mature. and he has gained a fraction of physical power. He’s 22 and that’s when you really become a man. Cesc hasn’t worked especially on his finishing. I believe it’s just his calm in front of goal. He always had chances and, in some games, he missed three or four because he always wanted to finish with power. Now, he finishes with calm. He places the ball and suddenly he scores goals.”

And in all honesty, I didn’t really see Cesc in the more advanced role when he first started playing for us, but Arsene has yet again proved me wrong, and the new formation and especially having a player like Alex Song in the team, does allow Cesc more freedom going forward and his calmness and assured play does help the forwards and wingers.

Frank McLintock spoke about Cesc and how Song’s role in the team helps him:

“Song deserves some of the credit for Fábregas’s form and goals. Song is the most improved player in the Premier League this season and he has given Fábregas more freedom to receive the ball further up the field, where he can use his quick body movement to carve out space to shoot. I often thought because Fábregas was such a good passer, that his shooting would be equally good and now he has the confidence and freedom given by Song, you’re seeing him do it more and more. He has been the heartbeat of the team for the past few seasons, the one that the others look to. His maturity, skill and stature allows him to seize control of a game.”

With Cameroon bottom of their group – and if they lose to Zambia on Sunday – then they’ll be out of the competition – we may just see Alex Song back in the  team before he is due back. So, with a packed day of Premiership action, let’s hope Burnley can overturn Man United at Old Trafford and Sunderland can get the three points at Stamford Bridge…

Til tomorrow! Come on you Gooners!

  • Fabrez

    Like the line-up but Clichy aint startin 2morrow, in my opinion…hope I’m wrong!

  • ny

    Clichy will not start.My gut feeling is Silvestre may play as the DM.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    that line up is quality. and to think we have the likes of ramsey walcott denilson song bendtner van persie eboue vela and rosicky who can all come in and play in one of the positions (when fit) it just goes to show how strong our side actually is

  • Sam

    Knowing AW, he’ll probably start with Cesc on bench and use him if/when needed. That was the strategy for Villa, and Cesc is too important to be risked for Bolton (at least for entire game). Cesc will probably come on after 55 minutes.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    you may be right sam

  • devday

    Guys – news is that Ramsey and Denilson are both definitely out – so do you really think AW will start without Eastmond?

  • Khai

    holy shitballs. chelsea beat the hell out of sunderland. 7-2.

    man u also kicked burnley at 3-0.

    we really need to beat bolton.

  • Fabrez

    Cesc will start I believe. Won’t play the whole game though. Maybe come off after 70-80 mins. But I’ll def go for Cesc starting. With Denilson & Ramsey def out, I’m thinking Eastmond will start. We may see Emmanuel-Thomas on the bench and he could come on for Cesc, if not Merida.

    @ ny – Silvestre at DM? If Arsene does that, he would have lost his mind! I’d prefer a Under-18 youth team player at DM over Silvestre…

    But we will see what Arsene goes with. Shall b interesting. And Chelsea and Man U wins aplifies our need 2 win indeed!

  • Fabrez

    *amplifies our need

  • Fabrez

    And the difference between Cesc at Villa and Cesc at Bolton is that he’s fully fit this time. At Villa he wasn’t…which is y i’m going 4 him starting.

  • goonerman

    man united and chelsea did us no favours this weekend! on the plus side liverpool drew and tottenham drew also and it is always a pleasure when our cocky rivals dont win a game they are supposed to! and now we all have to cheer on everton to put a stop to them dirty mancs run! i dont think anyone actually has a clue what midfield three wneger will play tomorrow ! im sure we will get a suprise lol.

  • Debs

    Looking forward to the game, and it’s a very important game, as victory will give us the chance to go top of the league when we play Bolton again on Wednesday. That would be awesome, and I hope the boys play like they want all 6 points.
    Think Cesc’ll start, especially as we’re away, but I agree that he might not last the whole 90mins, especially if we’re well on top.
    Hope Clichy starts as well, but I think he should be a bit rusty, so we shouldn’t expect too much from him.
    Silvestre as our DM? Oh God, I hope not! I’d rather Eastmond, and at least he’ll gain some valuable experience.
    Arshavin has been a bit invisible these past few games, but I don’t blame him, as he’s been playing out of position, sacrificing his normal game, but I still always think he’ll produce a moment of magic or two each week, so hopefully he’ll do so this week! :)
    Hope Rosicky gets a run out as well and contributes again like last week, but hopefully in different circumstances!

    Anyone have any news on Wilshere going on loan? I’m guessing Burnley, and possibly Bolton, are no longer options. FC Twente? I’d rather he stayed in England, but I guess a little absence from the spotlight won’t do his development any harm.

    As to us signing a striker or not, how we perform over the next couple of games will probably influence Wenger’s decision, especially as Nikky B’s always ‘2 weeks away’. I want us to score loads of goals, but if that means we don’t get a new striker, so be it, and it’ll prove we don’t need another one, anyways!

    Anyways, Arsene knows best, so I guess we just have to wait and see what happens…

  • ny

    i personally think denilson’s injury is not a blow for us.Boltons sumo players will dash him.So is Eastmond.I still think Silvestre has a good chance for the DM role.If clichy starts at left back then Traore is another try.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    really looking forward to the game. come on gunners!

  • wills

    @debs, if we win this and the one on Wednesday to go top of the league, it gives us such a psychological advantage over the others. Even though Chelsea will have a game in hand, they’ll be needing to win to get back in front.

    That’s why the next 4 days are crucial for us.

    I’d like to see Nasri in the holding role, with Cesc and Diaby in front of him and Rosicky, Arshavin, and Eduardo up top.

  • Sam

    Time 4 the game to start, won’t be easy but we’ll beat them. 4-1.