Arsenal 4-2 Bolton: Fabregas, Vermaelen and Eduardo star in sensational comeback

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Arsenal are top of the league and after coming from two goals down to win by two we thoroughly deserve it.

Going into the game it looked something of a formality that we would end the day on top of the table. But a half an hour into the match it appeared an unlikely outcome.

Arsenal played a strong and experienced team from the start but scrappy defending allowed Bolton to score twice, first through Gary Cahill and then through Matthew Taylor via the penalty spot. Both were the sort of concessions that will need to be eradicated before the big boys come to town but on this occasion they provided the starting point for a monumental comeback by our boys.

Bolton stacked men behind the ball for the rest of the half in the hope that they would go into the break two clear. They came ever so close but were unstuck by a moment of Tomas Rosicky magic.

Receiving a pass from the irresistible Cesc Fabregas, Rosicky ghosted into the penalty area before smacking home at Jussi Jaaskelainen’s near post. The beauty in this goal lay both in Fabregas’ ability to sneak out a pass and Rosicky’s ability to let loose a shot mid-stride to completely surprise the goalkeeper. It was a truly wonderful goal and hopefully the sort of which we may see more of as the Czech man regains the levels of performance that we all know he is capable of.

The goal before half-time absolutely changed the game. It gave us a huge boost of confidence going into the break and undoubtedly planted a seed of doubt in the minds of the Bolton players. Indeed, we may have even gone in equal at the break when Fabregas had a curling shot saved by the goalkeeper.

It was equal soon after the break in somewhat controversial circumstances.

William Gallas and Steven Davies both challenged for a ball in the middle of the pitch and while Gallas scuttled off to pick up the loose ball, the Bolton man lay prone on the turf. Gallas ignored the man down and pushed forward to help out with the attack, eventually allowing captain Cesc to waltz into the penalty area and fire home a lovely finish.

The crowd went mad with delight while the Bolton players and staff went mad at the referee.

The fallout from this incident has been absolutely ridiculous. New Bolton manager Owen Coyle called it an “assault” while the pundit covering the stream I was watching was having a minor fit about the “bad foul” that Gallas committed. For me it was nothing more that a 50-50 challenge and both players got the ball – something you can clearly see from the way the ball spins away after they make contact. Although Gallas came from the higher position and certainly caught Davies, you can see from the way that his leg snaps back from the challenge that he had absolutely no intention to hurt the Bolton player.

Had I been referee I probably would have called it a foul, but with Alan Wiley deciding it wasn’t we had every right to play on. Anyone who disagrees only needs to watch the Denilson incident against Everton a couple of games ago. It’s the referee’s job to stop play, he didn’t, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t play on. End of story.

From 2-2 you could sense that Arsenal were going to complete the comeback and they did just that when Thomas Vermaelen scored a sensational third goal. Abou Diaby challenged for the ball from a corner by Fabregas, it fell to Vermaelen and the Belgian produced the sort of technique most centre-backs can only dream about to half-volley the ball in off the post. While the fans went mental he celebrated in typical Vermaelen style, all fist pumps and pure passion.

With the top of the league in sight we should have taken the lead soon after only for Fabregas to be denied a clear penalty for the third time in two games. Regardless of whether the ball was going out of play Jaaskelainen made a lot of contact with Cesc and compared to the penalty that Wayne Rooney won against us at Old Trafford, this was a no-brainer.

In the end it didn’t matter but I have to say I’m getting fairly sick of being denied clear penalties. We’ve won just one all season and had numerous others disallowed (I can could five off the top of my head). Yes Eduardo dived earlier in the season but the consequences of that incident are beginning to get ridiculous.

We attacked relatively strongly for the remainder of the game and eventually got the goal to send us to the top of the table through Andrey Arshavin. The Russian exchanged passes with Eduardo before dinking a shot past the Jaaskelainen. He could have made it five later too but had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper with substitute Theo Walcott perhaps better placed to finish.

While there were undoubtedly flaws in our performance today the overwhelming message to take home once again is that this team have character and attitude that we didn’t perhaps believe we had before the start of the season. In short, this group of players appear to have grown a pair.

In terms of individual performances I thought Fabregas, Vermaelen and Eduardo stood out today. Fabregas for the obvious reasons (dominated the game, made our team tick, scored a goal, a constant threat etc etc etc), Vermaelen because of his unbelievable commitment and no-nonsense attitude and Eduardo because he never stopped moving up front. The three of them made the players around them play better and in the end were largely responsible for our comeback.

Nothing more to say really except WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!

Have your say on Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Bolton by leaving a comment.

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44 Responses to “Arsenal 4-2 Bolton: Fabregas, Vermaelen and Eduardo star in sensational comeback”

  1. TheSKAGooner
    January 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    One thing to note…Rosicky scored the game-tying goal against Everton at the death and now scored the crucial first goal to bring us back into contact with Bolton. TR7’s got to be feeling good and getting his scoring touch back. It bodes well to have yet another scoring threat on the pitch.

  2. sean
    January 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Glass-legs(Diaby)is brilliant.
    FACT!

  3. ramnik
    January 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    amazing game, knowing we needed to win by two goals before the game to go top and then 30mins into the game and we’re 2-0 down. This team definately has character and all four finishes were good. Wenger has the desire but i still worry about our lack of height being exposed by long balls into the box and knock downs. Cohen fluffed a good chance that a top player like Gerrard, Lampard would of finished off. Clichy was a lot better than Traore on Sunday and Rosicky is getting back to his best. Eduardo needs to improve his finishing otherwise he will be a bit part player when Van Persie and Bendtner are back. We dont need a striker thats for sure but we need maybe another good defensive midfielder and a top TALL centre back. Smalling looks a good acquisition for the future.

  4. Lip13
    January 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    “Thomas Vermaelen scored a sensational third goal” – a bit over the top! Decent finish but no goal scored from 6 yards out is sensational!

    Gallas’s challenge was very bad. From where I was sitting in the upper tier I could see it was a foul. Would not be at all suprised if that lad has broken his fibula.

    In my opinion Eduardo had a poor game. Still can’t finish for toffee and his lack of pace was very apparent. Vela, in the short time he was on the pitch, showed more class and touch than Eduardo did.

    Denilson and Diaby for me both had bad games again. Neither had a good passing game and the amount of times that Diaby gets caught in position is just ridiculous. Good to see Rosicky coming to the fore though

  5. Nduka Henry Uzochukwu
    January 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    We all know it is hard to take this Gallas incident fair. But all i want is Gallas to appologise if that challenge is malicious. But this is what Bolton wished would have happened to us on sunday but GOD was on our side

  6. gooner1
    January 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Surely now even the non-believers will begin to believe.

    This Arsenal side are true title contenders and that win was the stuff that champions are made of.

    To win was sweet. To win from two down was even sweeter. To win from two down and then go top of the league is even better than the sweetest of sweeties.

    Victory was important but to win and go top of the pile, in those circumstances, will be the biggest confidence boost the club, players and Gooners have had for a long while.

    We can do it. And while we are doing it, Cesc Fabregas is becoming an Arsenal legend.

    Despite Cesc Fabregas being on the verge of Arsenal legendary status I must add that Thomas Vermaelen is fast becoming my Arsenal hero.

    In my opinion the Belgian should be our vice-captain. The impact he has made at Arsenal has been immense. Well done Wenger for bringing him to us.

  7. Grandnubian
    January 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    When Diaby plays with Song they have a better understanding than when either of them plays with Denilson. TV, what a player. I think this season his desire to win has helped to solidify us a bit at the back. Admittedly we still allow some silly goals. Fabregas is on another level this year, perhaps driven by the desire to be at the World Cup

  8. carim
    January 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    The visit of Bolton saw the good, the bad and the ugly. And just maybe it’s the latter that has been in particularly short supply in Arsenal’s performances of late. But why should Wenger’s team turn the other cheek? You give it out, you should expect it back. Let’s hope that the two games against Bolton have instilled a spirit in the side that can take them forward over the next three weeks. Yes, there are huge doubts, and finishing ahead of both Chelsea and Manchester United would certainly defy perceived football wisdom. But maybe this is the season when Wenger’s promises of silverware from this developing side are finally delivered. There won’t be any significant arrivals in the transfer window to strengthen his hand – a decision that might come back to haunt the manager – so if there is success, it’ll be done on a wing and a prayer. Hold on to your hats, the ride’s about to get hairier still.

  9. christian
    January 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Yesterday was one of the games of the season…and we deserved to win without a doubt. Davies got some of his own treatment and if you remember a week ago him calling us cry babies…Well there you go Davies, i’m sure a few tears came from your eyes while you was laying on the arsenal turf. Don’t try to be funny in interviews.

    Bolton can just go piss off and get relegated – the amount of times wenger got stick for saying his team were a victim of the physical brutes at bolton – well davies spin on this

  10. gary
    January 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Owen Coyle believes that the referee made a mistake. Yeah. A mistake, something none of us are immune to. But then he goes further and makes two unfair criticisms. One is that Gallas’ foul was assault. Not really fair. Gallas wasn’t looking at Davies’ leg when he committed the foul, it was a bad challenge, deserving of a red perhaps, but not intentional and not assault. Whereas Coyle has a short memory, if we recall Matt ‘let’s stamp on his neck and see what happens’ Taylor, and Paul ‘I’m not very good so I’m going to kick Fabregas even after he’s fallen over’ Robinson. Hypocrisy, thy name is Owen. And as for calling us not full of fair play because we didn’t stop the play, well Wenger said himself that he had no problem with Everton carrying on and trying to score against us the other week when Denilson fell over. And in that situation, Denilson had the ball, so it was obvious something was wrong with him, whereas our players weren’t looking at Davies and didn’t know he was badly injured. But if you kick the ball out every time someone falls over the game would be in chaos – this is why it was made the referee’s discretion and players were told to play on unless the referee stopped the game, as we did. Coyle is a manager I respect a lot, but he should think before he opens his mouth to make stupid comments like that. Perhaps he has felt very hard done by and fairly so in fairness so you can understand. But an apology from him to the referee and to Arsenal wouldn’t go amiss.

  11. amar
    January 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    Christian i agree with you 100%. I think In society we applaud people who stand up to bullies, even when we know their actions were wrong. So when you act in a manner which is likely to make people retaliate, you shouldn’t be surprised when you eventually receive a dose of your own medicine! The foul was both intentional and wrong, but I also don’t believe he would have done it if he hadn’t been reacting to continuous provocation over 2 straight games. The rules of the game say he deserves to be banned, and as much as I’d hate to see him banned they are the rules. However, I’m happy to see Arsenal shaking their “lightweights” image and if that means a few more bans to stop teams thinking they can out-muscle us in games then bring them on!

  12. amar
    January 21, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    http://www.footytube.com/video/arsenal-bolton-wanderers-jan20-31901

    the 4th goal is magnificent. come on Gunners pls pls tke out Villa Utd and Pool.

  13. will
    January 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    The goal was with the left foot and it was a clear penalty as you might have seen by now.
    But it was also a clear penalty on Cesc, no 3 clear penalty’s on Cesc in 2 games and not given. And I don’t mean Shay. Oh what a surprise. NOT.

    As I had to see on a slow and not always clear internet link, that stopped at the moment the penalty was to be taken…. I didn’t get the best view of it all at times but must say that it was not Bolton that played that good as the commentators were trying to make us believe, it was our own foult of gifting them 2 goals.
    Clichy’s clearence was not the best and I think he still needs a few games to be on his best again. How many times we use this phrase as Arsenal fan ? Every week ?

    Denilsons’ tackle wasn’t the best but in between we had some chances and we could and should have been ahead before they scored their second.

    I also felt it was the same as in Liège. The moment of our first goal was almost the same and from that moment on I really was convinced, altough I looked for help from abouve and it worked, that we would turn this game around.

    Now please let us all give our support to Tunisia today so that Song can come back ASAP.

    Oh and if a players makes gestures to the crowd he should get a yellow card and even a red one is possible if the gestures are obscene or starting to cause trouble.

  14. will
    January 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    thanks for the highlights

  15. will
    January 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Arsenal v Bolton: Mark Davies paid the price for breakdown in trust between footballers

    When Bolton’s Mark Davies was laid flat-out at the Emirates last night with what immediately looked like a serious injury, the natural human reaction was to want Arsenal to roll the ball out of play.

    Arsenal, though, played on and duly sparked controversy by scoring an equaliser at what was clearly a pivotal moment in the match.

    So who should we blame? William Gallas? Referee Alan Wiley? Or maybe Arsene Wenger for encouraging his team to always play to the whistle? While Gallas is clearly accountable for a bad tackle, I would say responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of every player who has ever deliberately disrupted or slowed down a match by feigning injury.

    Before such blatant deception became widespread, football operated quite happily on a mutual understanding between teams that players would only stay down after a challenge when they were genuinely hurt. It worked, rather like the way umpires in cricket could rely on batsmen to walk if they got an edge.

    Yet just like some cricketers, footballers began to exploit this spirit of goodwill. A player would go down and stay down not because he was injured but as a means to stop play and deny the opposition an advantage. It became so widespread that it was eventually decided by Fifa that the referee should be the sole arbiter of when play was stopped.

    In fairness to Arsenal, they had no complaints when Everton almost scored earlier this month after Denilson lost possession and went down with a back injury.

    Now that the situation is reversed, it was understandable that Wenger should defend his players for continuing when Wiley did not see a foul. Should Gallas have disobeyed his manager? Did he even know how much damage his studs had inflicted on Davies’s ankle? Probably not.

    In truth, in the vast majority of incidents, the only person who really knows the severity of an injury is the player himself. That is why it was so much better when players could rely on the good faith of each other.

    It is also why the delay in getting treatment to Davies has to be blamed on those occasions when others have blatantly cheated. Quite simply, there are times when football pays the price for some of its past dishonesty.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/sport/jeremywilson/100004932/mark-davies-paid-the-price-for-breakdown-in-trust-between-footballers/

  16. Hey Nonny Mouse
    January 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    This Arsenal side are goal scoring maniacs. Everyone’s scoring. It’s mental. 59 goals in 22 league games and by far the majority of them from open play? How many pens have we had in the league this season? Just the one isn’t it? Which Fab missed (v Stoke). 59 goals and not one pen amongst them – correct me if I’m wrong. And here’s the clincher – we’ve been playing without a recognised striker since Van P’s injury. It’s bonkers.

    Also I keep forgetting we’re playing without our defensive rock, Song, at the moment. When he gets back we’ll look a lot more secure in the middle. 😯

    Bill Gallas. Get stuck in, mate. We’re right behind you. That’ll teach the dirty b*stards.

  17. Neil Leathers
    January 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    For five seasons Arsenal have had serious injury problems that have hindered their chances of picking up silverware. A few years ago they may have won a League/Euro double if it hadn’t been for Eduardo’s broken leg and three awful refereeing decisions in the same game, plus Babel’s blatant dive in the CL semi final.
    This season it has gone from bad to worse; the players have been taking it in turns to join the list. As Arsene Wenger said on the team’s website, Just imagine where we’d have been without long term injuries to so many key players – and minor knocks to more than several others. The average number of players we’ve had missing in every game, cup and league, this season, is 7.02. Honest. Trust me; I’m an anorak. And that doesn’t include the two African Cup of Nations players who are away right now.

    Credit where it’s due. The great Man is a genius. I’m not convinced that we’ll win anything this season as the injury problems show no sign of abating,and no other club except Man Utd (two cars in the garage, nothing in the bank) for a few weeks only before Xmas, has had to endure anything like it, but the future is very bright, that’s for sure.

  18. Shard
    January 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    @Hey Nonny Mouse

    Good to see someone not take the goody goody line..Bolton deserve everything that can happen. Who’s moaning now? Hypocritical ugly b*stards. (I don’t think it was a malicious tackle though)

    Top of the league,,long may it continue.Or at least at the end of the season 🙂

    I still hope we buy someone in the transfer window. Maybe a midfielder with all the injuries we’re picking up. Oh and Andy. what thoughts on a loan deal for huntelaar?

  19. sobin the gooner
    January 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    All the goals scored by us was fantastic.we show great character to come from 2 goals down to make it 4-2.what a performance by our boys.
    come on Arsenal
    IN ARSENE WE TRUST

  20. C-Bass
    January 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    I watched the replay on the tele.

    Gallas foul was bad but I had the same reaction as many… karma. Bolton came out in the first fixture and clearly their plan was to get stuck in. We chose to match that mindset rather than complain about it. Should have been called a foul but that’s the risk you take.

    I thought Verm and Diaby rasied their physical toughness for these two games. Anyone going near them was going to get it as good as he gave.

    Absolutely wonderful that Rosicky scored as well as Arshavin. The little Russian needed a goal. I think he’s been a bit frustrated lately.

    Thank goodness Clichy is back for our tough stretch.

  21. jebo
    January 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    am amazed by ur choice of individual performance. eduardo??? and i think Gallas and rosicky did weel too

  22. Andrew Weber
    January 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    The comments tonight are just sensational. Thank-you everyone for your words on the blog.

    There’s a real feeling of unity amongst the supporters right now. We’ll need that if the club is going to get through the next couple of weeks and come out of the other end in a great position.

    Brilliant stuff.

  23. Andrew Weber
    January 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    I just wanted to add one thing about Eduardo.

    Panda and I watched the game together and we were very impressed by his movement in this game. He still seems to lack that extra bit of sharpness that sees him get on the end of through balls but he was non-stop yesterday, always making runs and moving defenders out of position. It was a selfless performance and allowed Arshavin, Rosicky and most of all Fabregas to shine.

    I still feel we could really use Bendtner back in the squad but this performance by Eduardo gives me hope that if the Dane suffers a relapse we still may come through the next couple of weeks with some great results.

  24. Luxinbrasil
    January 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Whatever your thoughts are on the Gallas tackle….it looks like the ref did see it and therefore the FA will not be reviewing it and punishing retrospectively…….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/jan/21/william-gallas-to-escape-punishment

    (again from the Guardian!)

  25. jebo
    January 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    cool adrew!!

  26. Panda
    January 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    The thing with Eduardo, is that he may not be the finishing wonder he was before his injury. Or he hasn’t he hasn’t found form. His 1-2 play and lay-offs and touch of the ball is phenominal. There were many times the ball was fired at him by the other attacking players, and he controlled it, chested it and it just worked. He creates space for others to run into. And he’s still got i think 4 goals in 7 matches.

  27. Breezay
    January 22, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    @ Carim – I totally agree with what you said. The crazy ride is just getting started, but I’m ecstatic!

    @ Lip13 – I think Diaby played a great game once again. It wasn’t perfect by all means, especially his passing at times, but if you go back and look at the goals we scored, I believe two of them were started by Diaby tracking back and making a tackle to gain possession and to start our run. I, also, disagree that Eduardo played poorly. Yes, it appears as though maybe he has lost a step, but he was fully involved the entire game and, as Andy stated, was all over the pitch.

    Well done Gunners! If feels so nice to be top of the league right now…even if only for a few days…

    Let’s keep this train rolling right on through Stoke, Villa, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpoop!

  28. fredric
    January 22, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    I will never forget the very first time I learnt the meaning of optimist and pessimist in primary school. I always remember because it was difficult for me to believe that some people are created to go through life believing that only the worst will happen to them. I cannot even call myself 100% optimist but I can understand optimism. I’m a realistic optimist – i.e. – I believe that the best will happen to me and works towards it but I recognise my limitations and try to minimise them. I also take joy in my achievements, big or small. As I mature and became more exposed to the larger society, I began to see pessimists but I still couldn’t understand pessimism. The Arsenal Doom&Gloomers are some of the world’s worst pessimists. I do not understand them still but I appeal that we treat them like other members of the society with special needs. If AFC wins EPL, CL and FA cup, they will whinge about missing the Carling cup and moan about how it is the greatest trophy ever. Great Doom&Gloomers, I salute you!

  29. fredric
    January 22, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    To be honest I cannot believe how so called Arsenal fans are bemoaning the squad and sledging their own players. Anyone would think that we were languishing in the mire of the relegation zone! Has anybody the sense to glimpse the league table and notice that we are in a position to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League crown? Can anybody see that we have outscored EVERYONE and hold a goal difference matched only by Chelsea? Has anyone the optimism to recognise the ease at which we qualified for the next stage of the Champions League and the favourablility of the draw for the next round. Has anyone noticed that we are still in the FA Cup after Utd and Liverpool were sent packing by lower league opposition. Oh, and to have achieved this whilst operating at a profit (admirable in this current climate, whilst harbouring an injury list longer than any of our rivals (good squad depth) and withstanding the garbage coming out of what I can only assume are very uneducated ‘supporters’, I think Mr.Wenger deserves a medal. Try and get on with actually supporting your team and its players because frankly your ‘we desperatley need to buy’, ‘Arsene needs to go’ and ‘Denilson/Diaby/Rosicky/Eduardo is crap’ comments are better off rattling around in that empty space between your collective ears.

  30. rilub
    January 22, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    i love how gallas is already being condemned. yes is was a bad challenge and on another day could be a red card. however, it was fucking ACCIDENTAL you bunch of sky pricks.

    remember martin taylor? eduardo nearly lost his leg, but no, poor martin taylor only deserved a three match ban. all the pundits were giving it the whole “it was a bad challenge, but martin taylor is a pro and an honest professional”.

    in reality, it just boils down to the fact that he’s english, and these sky twats have more chance of actually sharing an agent with him, or meeting him at a football event. whereas with gallas, they can splurt whatever shit they like about how he should look himself in the mirror, knowing they will probably never meet the guy.

    what a load of hypocritical bullshit.

  31. hamish
    January 22, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Arsenal 4 Bolton 2 involves two stories: one big, one small. The big story is that in a match where a win would put Arsenal level with Premiership leaders Chelsea but a victory by two clear goals would put us top, Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 and duly went top. The small story is that a Bolton player got injured in a challenge but no free-kick ensued and Arsenal played on to score an equaliser. Some areas of the media are concentrating – shock, horror – on the small story. Whatever, we’ll take the three points.

    Bolton have harassed Arsenal with media-applauded strong-arm tactics for the last decade, fouling and injuring our players with free-willed aplomb. I don’t remember many shedding tears for Arsenal; we don’t need to start shedding them for Bolton. Bolton have lived by the sword, this is them dying by it.

    Let’s look at that small story. Bolton were winning 2-0 and were going to do an unexpected job on us. We get a goal back, showing the hurt resilience and determination that Arsenal have seriously lacked for years, particularly in comparison to Chelsea and Manchester United. William Gallas and Mark Davies hurtled full-blooded from different directions into what looked like a 50/50 for a loose ball. When the two arrived the opportunity had become more like 60/40 in favour of Davies. Gallas caught Davies badly and everyone assumed that a foul would be given. It wasn’t and Arsenal carried on playing, scoring the equaliser.

    Despite media euphoria, despite Gallas, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger being castigated, the reality here is fairly simple. Gallas made a genuine attempt to win the ball, he genuinely arrived late and caught the player badly on the ankle. The referee Alan Wiley – who I have longed stated is the best referee in the league – genuinely must have seen the contact as an accidental collision rather than a foul and he let play continue.

    Many observers have said that Arsenal should have kicked the ball out. Rubbish. When Denilson went down against Everton recently did the Toffees kick out the ball? No, they ran off with it and tried to score. It is up to the referee if play can continue. It is hard and unfortunate for Bolton that Wiley did not give a deserved free-kick. For me Gallas should have been booked: not a red card, there was clearly intent to win the ball, it’s just that he didn’t manage it.

    Play was free to continue and it is unrealistic to think that Arsenal would kick out the ball when they are losing 2-1 in a match they need to win and dearly want to take by a two-goal margin. Regardless of what Bolton or observers may say, it is cast-iron guaranteed that Chelsea or United would also have continued to play. As frankly would Bolton. Or indeed any other team. So don’t clobber Arsenal for getting determined: we have been told for several seasons now that we have to get tougher, so Bolton, sorry, but tough.

    Mick Dennis of the Daily Express described Arsenal fans as “low lifes” on Sky Sports News this morning, for cheering as Davies was stretchered from the pitch. Like with last season’s Eboue booing, the point has again been missed, by someone who should know the bigger picture. Arsenal fans only boo or cheer ironically when they’ve had enough.

    Eboue wasn’t booed because he played badly against Wigan. He was booed because he’d been appalling for ages and Wenger was being booed for still playing such a dreadful player and for having brought him on despite being unfit. They were both being booed, rightly or wrongly. Arsenal fans had had enough. The media should be savvy to this reason but ignored it and slated us for booing.

    Similarly, Dennis – whose regular 7.30am views are good value – should have realised that Arsenal fans are very good at showing respect to other teams’ injured players but far too often we have fallen foul of Bolton’s thuggery yet been told off ourselves, because we’re not strong enough. For Mick Dennis and other journalists the reality here is simple too: Arsenal fans were cheering Bolton getting their come-uppance, a taste of their own medicine – never a player being injured.

    Bolton blatantly should have had a free-kick but we’ve all seen incidents where for some reason the referee decides that a poor outcome from a challenge was not intended, so he allows play to carry on. The referee may wince a few seconds later “hell, did I make a mistake there?” but the moment has gone.

    Without the equaliser happening quite how it did, Bolton may have got something from the game, Arsenal may not have won and certainly we may not be top of the league. Should we be sorry? No. We played Bolton twice inside four days – punishment enough for any team – and merited three penalties across the two matches for clear and basic fouls on Cesc Fabregas. We didn’t get any of them. Is anyone crying for Arsenal? No.

    I have basic sympathy for Bolton, but not much. They have lived by the sword against Arsenal for years and now they have died by it. As come-uppances go, it was grade A. For Arsenal, the biggest story here is a huge one. We have shown ourselves that we do have the resilience and determination to push ourselves to the limit. We faced a massive mountain and we climbed it. Unreal. Chelsea and United will hate it, be gutted and quite frankly rather perturbed.

    Arsenal being top now means nothing: being top only matters after the last game of the season, until then it’s all about the points. Beating Bolton just gave us another three points. Beating them twice in four days gave us another six points.

    The biggest two points of all are that Arsenal can win the title and now we must sign the poacher striker that will capitalise on the chances we make, because we cannot rely on midfielders and defenders to bail us out, especially now that Fabregas will be targeted by every available henchman, particularly those of Chelsea and United. If Fabregas is still playable after February 10 and we’ve added the poacher, the title is there for us to win.

  32. Rwatooro
    January 22, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Whether Chelsea have a game in hand or not, they’re feeling the pressure already!!!

  33. harrison
    January 22, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    GOOD RESULT BUT NEED TO IMPROVE OR TIGHTEN OUR DEFENCE. WE ARE JUST CONCEADING GOALS

  34. Lil Weezy
    January 22, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    Reason for defensive slump is pretty clear: Alex Song is no longer patrolling the midfield.
    Analysis Without Song:
    -4 goals let in in 3 games against relegation bound teams…
    Analysis with Song in the lineup:
    -4 goals let in in the past 6 games including 2 clean sheets ( and no more than 1 goal being scored on us for the whole month of December) vs the likes of Villa, Liverpool etc…

    That should tell it all.. Bring back the Cameroonian please!!

  35. Sam Nix
    January 22, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    Great game. Great result. Great to hear BOLTON, of all clubs, complaining about a strong challenge. AW was spot on when he said he would show you two games worth of video of players being kicked.

    I watched the game in the USA(Fox Soccer Channel) and the announcer would not shut up about the Gallas challenge. You would have thought that we had another Eduardo/Diaby leg break the way he went on. In fact, his whole commentary was negative towards our Club and certainly not unbiased.. but i digress.. Gallas had every right to go in for that ball and if one player is standing and one is sliding, the slider will often come out worse. In the UK, we say ‘he touched the ball, no foul’. Gallas touched the ball..

  36. Pridesfoe
    January 22, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    * I think AW has resigned himself to the idea that our squad is never going to be water tight defensively. So instead of trying to fit square pegs in round holes, he went for another approach. Anyone can score 2 goals on us, the question is, can they stop us from scoring more than one? Very few teams can answer yes to that question.

    * Almunia, 4 clean sheets in 7 games. Not many keepers have a better record in that stretch. Yes, he is no David Seaman…..but, maybe we can start cutting him some slack. He had a good game yesterday besides the goals, I think a prolonged stretch of games may see him improve even further. On his day he is a decent keeper, its the inconsistency that needs to stop.

    *At my local bar where I often go to watch our boys play, a fellow gooner commented “bleh,I call diaby diabolical,I hate how much he gives the ball away”. My only response, if you ask the bolton players who caused them the most frustration in the past 2 games, I think that more than a few will answer diaby. Yes, he is not polished, yes he can be infuriating. However, he will get in your face, you cant discount his physical prowess, and there is a bit of unpredictability about his play that can make all the difference. I think most opposition players when they see diaby in the line up think to themselves “not this m**herf**ker again!”. We need a player that just by the mention of his name causes discomfort in the opposition.

  37. georgetown gooner
    January 22, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    after analizing the game i came to the conclusion that as crazy as its sounds with us having scored so many goals we still need to add another target man to the squad before the transfer window closes. the time to strengthen is when you,re on TOP and i feel it would send out a message of intent to our rivals and show them we mean business whilst giving us another dimension,with regards to the game, great comeback by the lads a few lapses in concentration at the back which need to be eradicated before the visit of manure and liverpool. great strike by little mozart to get us back into the game and with the pressure we applied the equaliser was inevitable,cesc wriggled free in the box to slot home and make it 2-2. then tommy v rifled one into the bottom corner to put us in front with the little russian adding a. fourth to place us at the summit.its unlikely wenger will buy and the concern has to be the mounting injuries are showing no sign of decreasing any time soon……having said that…IT FEELS GOOD TO BE TOP!!!!!!!!

  38. georgetown gooner
    January 22, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    latest injury news….sagna out of the stoke game and diaby out of the stoke,villa and possibly manure game can you f..king believe it? why,why,why sooooo many injuries?

  39. shambogunner
    January 22, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    as usual great write up andy
    great result last night but i think we had a lot of good fortune,long overdue if you ask me!!!the media attention around the gallas tackle makes me laugh,he never even left the ground,look at some of the tackles from these bolton games down thru the years and it wouldnt make the worst 20 bracket…watch rooney lashing out in every game utd trail or are drawing in and then come back to me u clown ‘pundits’.the double standards when it comes to us is unbelievable
    @ pridesfoe,
    almunia hasnt kept 4 clean sheets in the last 7 mate,its 3 vs bolton,villa and hull,all home games and wev conceded 6 in that time so lets not be comparing him with the top keepers just yet
    great to see so many bloggers in here aswel……..where wer you last 4 mths?????lol

  40. Andrew Weber
    January 22, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    Shambo – I’d like to think a lot of new people are showing up because of the new design.

    It’s allowed me to post more articles, some shorter, punchier articles and on the whole is a lot easier to navigate.

  41. shambogunner
    January 22, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    lets hope so mate!!!!!the new layout is class alri….the more the merrier

  42. uche
    January 23, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    cool analysis.welldone bro

  43. Adrian
    January 24, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Gallas’s foul wasnt bad. it is just like usual one so the equalizer is not controversial.

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