We are top of the league!
Its always an interesting experience watching a match with the opposition fans – I don’t do it regularly but every Bolton home game I sit with my good friend, Mr thebish, in the Bolton end as its easier for us to get tickets together there then with the gooners. In fact, we had a whole row to ourselves – not something you’d ever get in the home section but given this match had been cancelled once (limited edition programmes produced for the game that was snowed off are available for all you programme collecting geeks out there ) it was fairly predictable given the trek down from oop north and the fact it was an evening game that the away fans wouldn’t sell out, even given the excitement over the new manager.
Anyway, there were 2 changes to the Arsenal team from Sunday – Clichy starting his first game back and Denilson playing in place of Eastmond. Seemed odd to be facing Bolton again so soon and I was slightly puzzled as to why Klasnic, probably their most in – form player was dropped to the bench, though perhaps Coyle swapping him for a slightly more defensive player in Mark Davies was a clear sign of their tactics leaving just Kevin Davies up front as a solitary striker.
Klasnic’s omission didn’t seem to affect the away team as they rocketed into a 2 goal lead within half an hour as we were slow off the marks. The first Arsenal chance of the match fell to Diaby who hit the ball tamely at the keeper after a nice 1-2 with Eduardo. Minutes later back up the other end of the pitch after some poor attempted clearances from Arsenal the ball falls to Cahill who puts it away emphatically past Almunia from quite close range. A good finish but weak defending from the Arsenal (Clichy in particular) and a chance for some fat Bolton fans to get their tops off for the cameras (why is it only ever men with huge bellies do this? Ugh!)
The goal startled Arsenal into a bit of life and we dominated possession with Jaaskelainen making a fine save from Fabregas after good work from Arshavin and Eduardo. Almuinia also saved well from a good Taylor free kick before Boltons penalty put them 2-0 up. Denilson clearly fouling Lee and Matty Taylors penalty beating Almunia despite the keeper guessing the right way. The Bolton fans were in fine voice now and showed they had a realistic grasp of their team’s ability singing “we’re shit but we’re beating you!” as yet more fat men stripped off and wobbled their bellies (they’re strange up north!) Kevin Davies then nearly scored an own goal off a Fabregas ball heading just wide of his own post. Arsenal responded with a great goal by Rosicky finishing coolly and sharply after good play from Fabregas in finding the pass, the little midfielder was allowed the time and space by the Bolton defence to get the ball under control before running and finishing well.
Shortly after half time Arsenal score a controversial equalizer, Fabregas finishing very well from a tight angle through the keepers legs but Bolton (justifiably) aggrieved that a very bad late challenge from Gallas on Mark Davies should have led to a free kick. The goal was allowed to stand and sadly Davies was stretchered off with the ref claiming he didn’t see the incident (despite even Arsene Wenger managing to for once!) This put Arsenal back on the front foot and Vermaelen then finished coolly after Diaby headed a corner down in the area
Cohen had a half chance which he scuffed towards the goal for Bolton before Arshavin (who had had quite a quiet night) then burst into life and finished the scoring after good work from Eduardo, firing in on his right foot after knocking the ball over from his left to beat the defender. The goal that takes us top of the league – trying to remember last time we were top, seems a while ago.
A few seasons ago I think we would have lost a game like this so signs look promising for the future, granted we had a bit of luck at the turn of the game with the 2nd goal being allowed but Bolton battled hard and this match reporter hopes they stay up, in the past 2 games, despite losing both, they have played well and they have some decent players so it will be interesting to see how far Owen Coyle can take them. Good luck Bolton, all the best to Mark Davies and well done Arsenal – TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!!!!!
As written by Gooner Girl of GoonersWorld