Sunday, 12 September 2010

Arsenal v Bolton: The big match report


Arsenal 4 - Bolton Wanderers 1
At Ashburton Grove

Arsenal XI: Almunia, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs, Fabregas(C), Song, Wilshere [Diaby - 59 | Denilson - 72], Rosicky, Chamakh [Vela - 81], Arshavin
Substitutes not used: Fabianski, Sanga, Clichy, Nasri

Goals: Koscielny (24), Chamakh (58), Song (78), Vela (83)
Goals conceded: Elmander (44)
HighlightsAVTOMOTD
Goals captured by: Arsenalist 

At the end of the season, the history books will put this game to bed with three points inked against it.

It will also be remembered as the game where Alex Song scored the 1,000 goal under Arsene Wenger.

A game with five goals in it can't be bad, you'll say, especially if four of them were scored by Arsenal.

But the performance wasn't Arsenal's best. The team failed to go through the gears and take Bolton apart and the first half in particular we lacked ideas how to break down Owen Coyle's well drilled side.

Arsenal should have had a hat full of goals. Andrey Arshavin was the main culprit in spurning a number of good opportunities but apart from his lack of scoring ability didn't have a bad game. The Russian was involved in the build up to three of our four goals.

Perhaps I'm being overly downbeat about this performance and that may be wholly to do with the refereeing performance of Stuart Atwell and his two assistants.

He ruined the game for me. From early on I thought he wanted to be the centre of attention. The one the cameras were focused on. His judgement was poor. He should have sent Kevin Davies for two horrible tackles first on Tomas Rosicky (which he wasn't booked for) and two minutes later a two footed lunge at Jack Wilshere (which he was booked for).

The official should have awarded at least two penalties. One for a tackle on Andrey Arshavin in the first half by Gretar Steinsson where he took the player before the ball and in the second half late on when Emmanuel Eboue was brought down by Fabrice Muamba. The linesman signaled for the spot kick by placing his flag across his chest but the referee didn't award the spot kick.

Bolton started the better of the two sides and had good possession. But it was Arsenal who had the first real opportunity to open the scoring.

A perfect through ball from Tomas Rosicky using the outside of his foot played Andrey Arshavin clean through. The Russian one on one with the Bolton keeper should have put his shot away but instead managed to drill the ball into the keeper's leg.

The Czech midfielder then took an opportunity to shoot himself but his angled shot flew over the bar.


Bolton's first real chance was created by a ball floated to Fabrice Muamba which was knocked back across the box to Kevin Davies, but the striker's shot was weak and easily held by Manuel Almunia.

The Gunners went ahead in the 24th minute. A Cesc Fabregas corner was missed by everyone and Alex Song chased after the ball, kept it in play, and passed it infield for Jack Wilshere.

The 18-year-old, making his third start of the season, played the ball towards the far post where it was met by Fabregas whose pass was turned it by Laurent Koscielny at the second attempt.

The French defender, making his home debut, was at fault for Bolton's equaliser. His poor back header to allow Johan Elmander to put the visitors on level terms just before half-time after a pull back from Lee Chung-yong.

Almunia had no chance. He came for the ball and managed to push Chung-yong wide but the goalkeeper had no way of stopping Elmander's header.

Fabregas wasn't heavily involved in the first half. But came alive in the second. 

He created the goal which put Arsenal back in front.

From the Spaniards corner, the ball was cleared by only as far as Arshavin. The Russian played the ball to Fabregas who crossed for Maurone Chamakh to score with his head.

2-1 Arsenal. No more than we deserved.

Then came the sending off. Referee Atwell missed what appeared to be a foul by Alex Song on the edge of the Arsenal box. We broke away with the ball. Song passing to Arshavin who played a one two with Chamakh.

The Russian got the ball back but Atwell felt the challenge from behind by Gary Cahill on the Moroccan striker was bad, blew up and then gave the Englishman a straight red card.

Later another challenge worthy of a red card was made by Paul Robinson who clashed with substitute Abou Diaby. The Frenchman had to be replaced because of the injury sustained in the challenge.

Arsenal added their third through Song. A thing of beauty and worthy of our 1,000th goal under Wenger.

The midfielder started and finished the move. He won the ball in our half, dribbled forward then plays the ball wide to the right to Fabregas. Our captain in turn plays through Arshavin who returns the ball to Song inside the box. He beats a defender then dinks the ball over the Bolton keeper into the net.

Our forth was also a goal of beauty. A twenty four pass move which pulled the ten men of Bolton from side to side and then a chipped Fabregas pass straight into the path of Carlos Vela and the Mexican put away his left foot shot.

Three points was what we wanted at the start of the game, roll on Sporting Braga.

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