The game didn’t start well for The Arsenal. Bolton pressurised us and didn’t let the likes of Eastmond ( the shock inclusion of the tie) and Diaby. Lee, Bolton’s energetic winger, caused Armand Traore all sorts of problems throughout the game. The Frenchmen was our weakness, and if Bolton where to get a goal then it would be from his side of the arena. Luckily Bolton didn’t take advantage over the many mistakes that Armand committed. Soon after the early madness we took control. By “control” I mean deep control of the game. We took the game by the scruff of it’s neck and battered Bolton, and I mean battered! Cesc Fabregas, our midfield maestro, suddenly came into the life, so all of the other stars followed suit. A quick break and Eduardo was onto the ball, sliding it into the feet of Cesc. He fell, with the ball moving into a direction in which Fabregas himself punched the ball. Was it a penalty? No doubt about it, Jussi Jaaskelainen clearly tripped the Spaniard over. Bolton were lucky.
But then something magical……. Words hard to describe really. Am I going over the top? I don’t think so. Quick movement in a 7-6 man scramble in the box resulted in Arsenal taking a well deserved lead on the 30 minute mark. Cesc fed the ball into the impressive Eduardo, the Croatian produced a sublime back heel to the on-running Spaniard and the rest was history. It was simple, it was class, it was Arsenal. We could have had two before half-time, with Cesc Fabregas missing a glorious chance. Having said that it was an immaculate 45 minutes, one of our better ones of the season.
The second period was difficult. Bolton pressed us even further than what we saw in the first-half. Armand Traore was consistently being found out of position as Bolton pushed on for the equaliser and Taylor, who worked hard all game, missed chances in which a player of better quality would of dispatched quite easily. The Gunner’s weren’t looking up for it anymore and we gave away the ball away too many times for a team who love to keep possession until the opponents die down. Well, that is what I’m coming to right now. Merida came on for Eastmond, who did his job very well (especially for his first Premier League start), with Gael Clichy, who returned to action since the end of October, replacing Tomas Rosicky. Merida did rather well in his cameo. He kept the ball moving, moved around himself and scored the vital goal which sealed our victory. It was a brilliantly finished goal, a goal which our strikers would have been proud of. His first touch was class, his finish was excellent.
It was over. We played them out of the game, and another three points coming our way. I’m very pleased with our performance especially how Gallas and Vermaelan kept the clean-sheet that they deserve. We are still in the race for the Title and right on the heels of Chelsea and United, so I do believe that we can do something this year. If we keep on picking up the points in games where we should be winning, then we WILL win the league, no doubt about it.