There was a big smile from Arsene Wenger that had been a long-time coming after Alex Song’s brilliant late goal sealed the all three points in Arsenal’s latest fixture of the Premier League against lowly Bolton. The gunners came away with a comfortable 3 – 0 victory over Owen Coyle’s men and hopefully the win will go some more way to returning confidence to the players.
The victory also marked a milestone for Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie whose brace saw him score his 99th and 100th goal for the gunners. The double came off an exceptional performance from the Dutchman and showed how venomous he can be provided the Arsenal midfield can dominate proceedings as they did in the second half. It was great to see him receive the standing ovation he deserved after he was substituted in the 86th minute.
While we managed to comfortably wrap the win after a much improved second half it wasn’t all smiles for Arsenal fans in the first with defence still looking shaky at times. In the early exchanges it looked as though it could have been another poor performance from Arsenal and how things could have changed provided Pratley scored in the second minute of the match. But queue Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper Szczesny who produced an amazing save. Not long after Wheater went close to putting the visitors ahead after danger man Petrov put in a chip which the the Englishmen missed from eight yards out.
It was odd to see Arsenal produce such disjointed passing in the first half, but it was good to see the gunners come out a different team the break. It took only 40 seconds for the gunners to score after Ramsey stormed forward and played a ball to Van Persie who danced with Fabrice Muamba to create a tight angle on the left of goal from where he rifled a shot to beat Jaaskelainen at his near post.
A red-card to Wheater came off more great work from Ramsey who put a well weighted through ball to Walcott who made one of his trademark runs through the middle. The Bolton defender brought him down and deservedly saw red after denying Walcott a clear goal scoring opportunity.
It was a breakthrough performance for Ramsey who easily produced his best performance of the season and more of his influence on the match would soon follow after he produced another excellent through ball for Walcott, this time on the right side of the pitch. Walcott then stormed down the flank to put in a low cross for Van Persie who tucked away the ball from close range.
The final goal came late in the match with Sagna producing one of his trademark runs down the flank. After getting into a dangerous position on the right side of goal the Frenchman cut the ball back towards Ramsey who let in run for Song at the top of the 18-yard box. The Cameroon midfielder shook off the challenge of Pratley and cut inside, finishing the move with an excellent curled shot which easily beat Jaaskelainen. It was a deserved finish for Song after an excellent performance and a good result for the match for an Arsenal team that deserved all three points on the day.
on a much-needed win…
“Yes but you know we will not lose every game like we did at Blackburn. We had 22 shots on goal and we still lost so at the start of this game it was a question of nerves, of patience, of intelligence, and I think we controlled the game well even if Szczesny made a good save at the start of the game. In the second half I could not see Bolton scoring a goal although to their defence they were down to ten men and that made it even more difficult for them.”
on Van Persie’s emergence as a captain…
“I think he is one of these guys who develops with responsibilities. You would think he is not natural at the start but when he has the responsibility he really grows well into the role. I have observed him and he does very well.”
on his half-time team talk…
“I felt that in the first half we were a bit impatient sometimes, that we didn’t move the ball quickly enough, that our midfielders came a bit deep because we were man-marked. That exposed us a bit to counter-attacking and we had less support up front. In the second half, maybe because they were fatigued as well, our midfielders played higher up and we became straight away more dangerous. Bolton lost more balls and after that it was a question of when we would score the second goal. We had plenty of opportunities. It is a deserved win that is welcome for us because we cannot drop many more points.”
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Wojciech Szczesny | 7.5: The Pole has been consistently putting in excellent performances for the gunners and this week was no different. Produced an excellent save on the 2 minute mark against Pratley and stood up to every other challenge put in front of him.
Bacary Sagna | 7.0: Was expected to have a tough time against danger-man Petrov but had no trouble keeping him in check. Made good supporting runs down the right and produced a good cut-back for Song’s goal.
Laurent Koscielny | 6.5: Although there were a few defensive lapses in the match, Bolton mostly had little to offer on attack. He improved in the second half and had an overall solid performance.
Per Mertesacker | 6.5: Like with Koscielny, he was not tested that much in the match due to Bolton’s lack of attacking threat and the dominance of our midifield in the second half. A few defensive lapses, but overall a solid performance.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.0: The young Englishmen improved as the match wore on, but like both Koscielny and Mertesacker he was guilty of a few defensive lapses. Will need to rectify these in the future.
Alex Song | 8.0: A key part of the Arsenal defensive system in the first half when Arsenal were not playing so well. Became more influential in the second half on offence when the midfield began to dominate. Produced a well finished goal late in the game and was deserved after a great performance.
Mikel Arteta | 7.5: It was an excellent performance from the experienced Spaniard in midfield. Knows how to pick a pass after setting up for Gervinho and also was unlucky to be denied by Jaaskelainen who produced an excellent save.
Aaron Ramsey | 7.5: Although he had an average first half giving up possession easily, in the second half he easily produced his best performance of the season. The Welshman was involved in two of Arsenal’s goals linking up with Van Persie for the first and giving the through ball for Walcott for the second. He also had a huge hand in the red-card after producing an excellent through ball for Walcott, only for the winger to get fouled.
Gervinho | 6.0: Was probably the most disappointing Arsenal player of the match as we have come to expect more from the Ivorian. Had a heavy touch after Arteta set him up beautifully in the 6th minute of the match. Was the story of his performance unfortunately as he was dangerous and frustrating at the same time.
Theo Walcott | 7.5: Was not involved in the game at all for most of the first half, but came back well in the second. Produced an excellent run for the red-card and assisted well for Van Persie’s second goal although was a little wasteful on his opportunity late in the match.
Robin van Persie | 8.5: Much like Theo, Robin had a relatively quiet first half but sprung to life in the second. He teased the Bolton defence before rifling home the first goal and coolly finished the second after great work from Walcott. Was a great moment seeing his celebration for his 100th goal and deserved his standing ovation when he was subbed off in the 86th minute.
- Notable Substitutions