Arsenal 3 Bolton 0: Captain Van persie becomes a centurion
Even if it was early days, yesterday’s match seemed like a relegation 6-pointer.
The home side had a very patchy form that started with a draw which was followed by two losses in a row. An unconvincing win was followed by a shock loss to the team that was at the foot of the table.
The away side wasn’t any better. They started impressively with a 4-0 spanking of the new boys in the block but they’ve been on the wrong end of four successive defeats.
Kieran Gibbs did well in the Carling Cup so he was selected ahead of Andre Santos. Walcott was also chosen against Arshavin in the fresh side that had a break on Tuesday.
Bolton was the first to draw first blood when a Chris Eagles cross was nodded into the dabger area by David Wheater. Pratley got on the end of the ball and produced an amazing save from Wojciech Szczesny. Eagles also threatened again with another ball to Martin Petrov but Per Mertesacker was on hand to avert the danger.
Arsenal turned on the style to attack Bolton and a free kick was won on the left hand side of Bolton’s area, an area that can also be called as van Persie’s territory. The Dutchman swung it in but it was easy pickings for Bolton’s stalwart Jussi Jaaskelainen. The man with the whistle Mark Clattenburg requested for the free kick to be taken again so Mikel Arteta gave the ball a little nudge and van Persie curled it to the top corner but it missed by a lick of paint.
The Elbow Man Kevin Davies had played 120 matches in a row for the Trotters but he was warming the bench yesterday. However, he was sent back into action when David N’ Gog seemed concussed from the head bashing he received from Laurent Koscielny minutes ago.
Davies almost found himself through on goal but his control let him down after receiving a good pass from Paul Robinson. Arsenal’s defense was found wanting yet again and the Gunner might have been punished had Davies put that ball under control.
Koscielny had one of those moments where he waltzed forward and he almost put Arsenal 1 up. He ran a considerable length of the pitch before feeding Theo Walcott but he remained forward. Walcott gave it to Gervinho before delivering a cross into the box to see an unmarked Koscielny. The Frenchman attempted a scissors kick but his effort went wide.
Walcott had some chances at the end of the half but that was it from an Arsenal perspective because Mr. Clattenburg signaled for halftime. Arsenal was encouraging but had no goals to show for it, a familiar story.
Arsenal went into a flyer at the start of the second half thanks to some decisive attacking play. Gervinho got the ball in midfield and made a run but he was tackled by some bloke but as Ramsey received the ball, Mr. Clattenburg waved play-on instead of stopping play for an infringement. Ramsey moved with the ball before setting up RVP on the edge of the box. He dallied a bit before creating a chance for himself to beat Jaaskelainen on his near post.
Gervinho had a lovely one-two with Alex Song but he couldn’t finish off the delightful move. Bolton’s woes were compounded when a Ramsey through pass was heading straight to Walcott but he was impeded by Wheater who happened to be Bolton’s last man leaving the ref no choice but to brandish a red.
Arteta almost increased Arsenal’s lead after some brilliant work from Gervinho and van Persie on the left hand side but the ball was intercepted for a corner kick. Jaaskelainen was in the thick of things for Bolton and he was called to action again when van Persie teed up Walcott for a shot that was duly saved by the goalie but he parried it straight to Arteta’s direction that smashed another ball goalwards but the Finn was on hand to belly his years and make another good stop.
At some point Bolton had a swift counter attack that almost leveled the tie but Szczesny’s concentration was in check when Eagles lashed in a low drive goalwards. In an instance, it was Arsenal that was on the other end of Bolton’s goal with a low effort form van Persie that was saved by the goalie.
There was also a little moment of madness when van Persie was in the midst of five Bolton players in an off the ball event but the intended brawl didn’t emanate as the ref and other players eased everything off.
Gervinho and Walcott were nuisances to Bolton’s defense and the English winger chipped a delightful ball that was headed home by van Persie but Jaaskelainen appeared from nowhere to make another wonder save. Arteta swung in the corner but it was headed away from the danger to the path of Koscielny who smashed it back to the goal but the goalie was in inspired form as he made another good save.
Arsenal was knocking at Bolton’s door for the second but Jaaskelainen stood at the front the door and attempted to swallow the key so Arsenal had to switch to its battering ram mode and there was nothing the Finn could do about that.
Ramsey sent another through ball to Walcott on the right hand side and the winger had acres of space to exploit. He raised his head up and found van Persie free so he sent a well weighted ball to Arsenal’s captain who made the slightest of touches to score Arsenal’s second goal. That was also his 100th for the club after six years of magnificent service.
Ramsey was having an amazing game in midfield and he was left to fire the trigger from long range and he did to produce another good save from Jaaskelainen. Song supplied the pass of the day to Walcott who had all the time in the world to finish the ball in any way that would have been pleasing to him.
Walcott had limitless options to score the goal but he chose the most awkward of them all, a quick low drive that was punched to safety by Jaaskelainen. Gervinho’s time on the pitch was up so Wenger opted for the little Russian pygmy called Andrei Arshavin. Arteta was also sacrificed for the injury returnee Tomas Rosicky.
Arsenal kept pushing for the match clincher but they became more wasteful. With the tie against Olympiakos in mind, the Centurion was substituted for Marouane Chamakh but he knew who was going to get the band this time.
Arsenal killed off the tie after some amazing work from Bacary Sagna. The full back ran at the defense before cutting the ball back into Bolton’s danger area. The ball missed out on Ramsey but Song was in hand to evade his marker before finishing aplomb.
In a very delightful afternoon for Arsene Wenger, the Gunners and the fans alike, despair became the order of the day when Walcott pulled up short after attempting to chase a ball from Chamakh. The winger had a great game but the demons of injuries came to dwell on him when he was having a good time.
At the end of the whistle, Arsenal was home and dry and had propelled five places up the log to be placed at 12th position. The weekend also had its fair share of records with van Persie entering the 100 club, Peter Crouch scoring in his sixth different club and Fernando Torres scoring in his second game in a row since the days Merlin was the chief wizard of Britain.
Szczesny (7.0) had an uneventful day at the office but came to action when he was called.
Sagna (7.0) supplied the assist for the final goal.
Gibbs (6.5) did okay on the left and played a big role in Eagles weak shot with his burst of pace.
Koscielny (7.0) showed off his attacking talents while doing a decent job at the back.
Mertesacker (6.5) had a good game by his standards.
Song (8.5) was amazing yet again and finished it off with a well taken goal.
Ramsey (8.0) was ubiquitous in midfield and always wanted the ball because he knew what to do with it.
Arteta (7.0) had another great outing for his new club.
Walcott (8.0) was a constant thorn in the flesh of the Bolton defense. Disappointed to see how his evening ended. :(
Gervinho (7.0) ran at the Bolton defense with real drive and intent.
Van Persie (9.0) scored a century of goals for his club, an amazing return for a truly amazing player.
Arshavin, Rosicky and Chamakh didn’t play long enough to get Gooner Daily ratings.
In a weekend were the Big Boys showed what they are made of, Stoke Rugby FC proved to the world why the Britannia Stadium has become a fortress with a well deserved 1-1 draw with the champions. Peter Crouch made history in that game while Luis Nani continued to show stats wise why he has been better than Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United.
As at yesterday in their Manure United careers, CR7 and Michael Jackson’s clone shared 19 goals each at the club but Yar’ Adua is better off with 33 assists while CR7 had 12.
The sun is shining again at the Emirates; Olympiakos comes up next before a trip to the rejuvenated old enemy Tottenham Hotspurs.
They also have a weapon that Arsenal used to destroy them back in the days, Emmanuel Greedybayor.