Arsenal 4-1 Bolton: Good win!

So, international break over, time for another well-needed dose of Arsenal! The visitors to the Emirates this time round were Bolton. A couple of years ago this would have proved to be a very tricky tie, but with recent results- especially last year’s, where we beat them 4-2, after being 2-0 down, I think- and a manager like Owen Coyle who likes to play football the way it ought to be played, a win was expected.

Starting line-up:

Almunia

Eboue Squillaci Koscielny Gibbs

Song

Rosicky Wilshere Fabregas Arshavin

Chamakh

Very unfamiliar back-line, with Eboue and Gibbs coming in for Sagna and Clichy, and Squillaci making his debut in place of the injured Vermaelen. This would have been another chance for Theo to excel in front of the home crowd, if not for those blasted internationals! Hopefully it’ll not take long for him to regain his form when he’s back.

We started the match as we usually start at home, chance after chance. One fell to Arshavin, after an absolutely brilliant through-ball by Rosicky sent him clear, but his shot was saved by the debutant ‘keeper. With the nature and number of the chances being created, it was only a matter of time before we broke the deadlock, but I doubt anyone expected it to be a scrappy one! Wilshere floated the ball into the box, and with the Bolton defence panicking, Cesc touched the ball back to Koscielny, who’s effort hit the ‘keeper, the ball bouncing back onto Koscielny and into the net! Lovely reaction from Koscielny after scoring his first-ever Arsenal goal. That’ll definitely help his confidence in the long run.

Rosicky and Cesc were absolutely brilliant, pulling the strings, and it’s really great to see Rosicky getting a run in the team. Injury gods, keep away please, alright?! Rosicky himself almost doubled our lead, after nice work down the left by Chamakh, pulling it back for Rosicky after a Wilshere dummy deceived Bolton, but his effort was well-saved by the ‘keeper.

Another chance for Arshavin, this time the through-ball from Cesc, but he hit the side-netting! Same again shortly after, Cesc sending Arshavin clear after a lovely piece of skill to get away from the defender, but under pressure from the Bolton defence, he couldn’t hit the target.

It was all well and good, and it was just a question of how many we’d go on the score, but in true Arsenal style, we let Bolton back into the game, completely against the run of play! An error from Koscielny with his back-header let Lee in, to set up an easy chance for Johan Elmander, just before half-time. Very frustrating, but given the way the first half had been going, there really wasn’t any worry that we wouldn’t take all three points, but conceding a goal, especially an undeserved one is never a good thing.

So 1-1 at half-time, and I guess that conceded goal must have acted as a kick up the back-side. Second-half started in much the same vein as the first, with Arsenal chances being created all the time. One fell from Chamakh, after being sent clear (I wonder how many times that happened yesterday?!), this time by Cesc. I really thought he’d scored, but the ‘keeper make a top drawer save to deny him. But nevermind, he got his goal a minute or so later. From a corner on the right, after the resulting corner, the ball was worked back to Cesc, who stood the cross up into the box where Chamkah was there to meet it with a thumping header, about 15 minutes into the second half. Good goal. I wonder if all Chamakh’s goals this season will come from headers… Fine by me, really! Arsene made his first substitution just after, with Diaby replacing Wilshere.

With us still in the ascendancy, our job was made much easier by a Red Card to Gary Cahill with 63 minutes on the clock for a tackle on the by-line on Chamakh. Apparently Arsene said after the game that he thought maybe it shouldn’t have been a Red, but a light red or dark orange, or something along those lines. Hilarious! Still though, a Red was given by the referee. Straight red that is, not two yellows. A bit harsh this particular one, but seeing as Kevin Davies could have gotten a second yellow earlier on for a nasty clash of heads with Koscielny, maybe the referee had that at the back of his mind.

But whatever, Bolton were down to 10. I think that’s the 4th Red card this season in our matches, 1 for us, 3 for the opposition. interesting. Maybe just a little bit…

Anyways, with Bolton down to 10 men, it was up to us to capitalise and score as many as we could. Back to the Red card though, the referee really ought to have played the advantage in that situation, as Arshavin was bearing down on goal. He might not have scored, who knows, but there was a chance there.

Not too long after, another strong tackle, this time by Robsinson on Diaby. Definitely worse than the Cahill’s, but no yellow. Diaby, who’d only just come on as a sub had to be replaced by Denilson, as he couldn’t carry on. Not really impressive, all the tackles, and it seems Owen Coyle’s learning from his predecessor! Really hope Diaby’s not too badly injured, but the first soundings aren’t good.

But anyways, we continued to create chances, this time Arshavin turning provider and setting Rosicky up on the right, but the finish was lacking. Good chance there. Our third goal wasn’t far away though, and it was brilliantly created. As usual. Song won the ball in the middle, ran with it then passed wide to Fabregas on the right, who passed to Arshavin in the area, who then fed Song who rounded the defender and then lifted the ball over the ‘keeper who’d gone to ground early. And it was our 1000th under Arsene as well! Good stuff!

About 12 minutes left on the clock, and there definitely was no way back for Bolton, especially as we continued to pile the pressure. Denilson even had a go from outside the box, and the ‘keeper made a good save, especially with the ball bouncing just in front of him.

Arsene then sent Vela on for the last 10 minutes, and he rounded off the move of the season, 24 passes involved, with Cesc eventually sending Vela clear, and he kept his composure to slot the ball past the ‘keeper. 4-1, game well and truly over. Still could have scored more, but 4 goals after the interlull is a good return.

The performance as a whole was quite good, but ofcourse, there’s always room for improvement. The defence did quite well actually, especially as they’ve never all played together. Gibbs making his first start of the season played the whole 90, and I don’t remember him making any mistakes. Squillaci did well in place of Vermaelen on his debut, and it’ll be interesting to see who gets dropped when Vermaelen returns, because surely Vermaelen gets into the team almost by default? Competition for places never hurt, so it can only be a good thing.

One of the advantages of a team like ours is that we contribute goals from everywhere, so even though we’ve got 3 out of 5 strikers injured, we were still able to score 4. Really important that Vela and Chamakh were on the score-sheet though, and we will need them to get on the score-sheet, especially in tight games. All in all, it’s all positive at the moment, and if we can get through the next few weeks without Robin, Theo and Bendtner and keep churning out results, it bodes well for our title aspirations. 10 points out of 12 so far and second in the league shows we mean business. Hope we can keep this up…

Gotta turn our attentions to the Champions League now though, with Braga at the Emirates on Wednesday the first challenge. We ought to get out of the group fairly comfortably, but a very good win is needed on Wednesday…

Come on Arsenal!

  • gary

    As to our performance the most heartening thing had to be Cesc’s performance which looked much much more like the Cesc we’re used to and desperately need to see out there. Still not the same personality yet, but the performance was there. Great work form Arshavin who ran all day and while he’s no Henry against the back four moving up he worried and justifiably so the Bolton backline all day – and while I have to watchit I hear he did the first half too. Chamakh got what we hope for from him the unstoppable aerial chance and worked hard all day and created other chances for himself and his teammates – btw magnificent work from Cesc on that goal. Rosicky had a good match too not a great one though and that miss at 2-1 was very worrying at the time and is still a concern now. Song worked hard and had a stronger defensive performance in the second half than earlier matches. His passing has to improve, but what great work on the goal. Not a wonderful goal on the eyes really but that is the kind of hard work you wany=t from every player in your oppoenent’s box. He willed the chance and willed the ball in. Skill and skill is nice but you need some skill and will too.
    At the back Gibbs was very good and looks a real prospect at left back and shows its one of the few positiions where we aren’t a single bad moment from real catatstrophe. Koscieny is doing well but simply needs to bulk up a bit for Premiership football. Was delighted for Vela. While I still think he’s a La Liga player and just won’t be a Premiership player I can reallyhope he can prove me wrong on this. His run was excellent and his finish terrific. He absolutely deserved it. He’s clealry a good player its just whether he is or can be a good Premiership player match in match out that remains to be seen.

  • Roachy

    Great Game but….Atwell was really poor and let too much go, Davies made at least 4 very poor challenges all of which deserved yellows. I recall these were on Wilshere, Rosicky, Koscielny and Fabregas. Atwell also missed a clear penalty call on Eboue, instead he waves play on???? WTF

    Cahill’s takle on Chamakh was NOT the worst of all the tackles Bolton made. It was late and from behind, a straight red is probably a bit harsh and a yellow would of sufficed. (dark orange hehehe). But to stop play when Arshavin was clear on goal showed Atwell’s poor ref skills IMO.

    As was Atwell’s decision after Davies made a very poor tackle on Rosicky. Atwell correctly called played on, (advantage) and the next stop in play was Davies again making poor takle, only this time it was on Cesc. To me Atwell ought to have given Davies 2 yellows for both incidents as both were nasty and then shown him a red. No one would of complained. I suspect the giving Cahill the straight red was the fourth official telling him (via his ear piece) that he got the Davies two bad tackles wrong by only awarding one yellow.

    IMO however, the worst of all the takles was Robinson’s studs up takle on Diaby. It was clearly cinical and with intent to hurt, and far more deserving of a straight red. Robinson even had the audacity to then call Diaby a cheat. Once again both Atwell and the linesman both failed to pull up Robinson. Not even a free kick.

    Atwell will probably get dropped next week.

    On another note how poor was the final decision Martin Atkinson made in the Everton v ManU game? I think Martin actually panicked and blew his whistle to end the game while Everton were on the counter and attacking with Jagielka closing in on goal and a score wins them the game, because he feared reprisals from Blue Nose Ferguson. If ManU had 9 players behind the ball at that time then Atkinson ending the game would be ok, but Refs dont generally end the game while a team is clear on goal. If the incident was in reverse and ManU were attacking I dont think Martin would of done that. I actually sympathised with Moyes’s reaction on Martin’s very poor decision to Blow his whistle to deny a certain win for Everton.