Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

Classic Encounter: Bolton Wanderers

Classic Encounter: Bolton Wanderers

Well I`ve made it back from Kyiv safe and sound. I will try and post something about the trip later tonight with a few photos thrown in if I can sufficiently cool my temperament enough to negotiate the pitfalls of imageshack. But for now I`m revisiting a promised Friday series. Classic encounters at Bolton is something of an oxymoron for Arsenal in recent seasons. Dating back from a difficult cup tie at Burnden Park in the early 90s, the Gunners have struggled with Bolton`s tactics, succumbing to a series of insipid defeats, the starkest and forgettable of which was a 2-2 draw back in April 2003 which effectively curtailed Arsenal`s title hopes. A defeat made worse as Bolton`s strong arm tactics saw Cygan, Lauren and Ljungberg all leave the pitch injured as a result of heavy tackles. There have of course been happier memories in Lancashire for Arsenal. Who could forget the stirring comeback in March when Arsenal, two goals down and a man down at half time, rallied to a delightful 3-2 victory? The bizarre F.A. Cup Fourth Round replay the season before which saw Arsenal win 3-1 in extra time, two players missing penalties in the process, Bolton having a man sent off and Adebayor missing an open goal before helping himself to two goals? Or the incredibly tight 1-0 victory in March 1998 that constituted part of Arsenal`s awesome 10 match winning run to the title, Christopher Wreh making the difference with a thirty yard exorset after Martin Keown had been sent off.

But on this occasion, my fancy is taken by my first visit to the Reebok Stadium in April 2002. Given that the match was on a Monday night in the midst of my A Levels, a fabricated Orthodontist appointment granted me the exeat I needed to make my way to the match with my school mate Jim (who recently became a Father for the first time), who was slightly less cautious/ conniving than me and simply played truant. Bolton had been ensured Premiership survival the previous weekend with a 5-0 win over someone or other, Derby I think and there was nothing riding on the match for them. The same could not be said for the visitors Arsenal, who were four points away from securing a first Premiership title for four years, avoiding defeat would provide Arsenal with the tantalising prospect of snatching the title at Old Trafford, whilst the F.A. Cup Final was five days away. The atmosphere proved to be utterly surreal, as the home fans also cheered on Arsenal, there distaste for Manchester United together with their own survival having been cemented saw them join the Arsenal fans in choruses of "come on Arsenal!" as well as a rendition of, "you`re gonna beat Man United." However, Arsenal looked nervous early on and Allardyce, close ally of Ferguson no less, sent his side out all guns blazing as the Gunners rocked back on their heels, an injury to inspirational skipper Tony Adams seemingly adding to their lethargy. Ricardo Gardner forced a fine save from David Seaman, whilst Michael Ricketts missed a sitter inside fifteen minutes.

Despite looking blunt upfront in the face of Bolton`s resolute defending, a moment of inspiration unlocked the door to give Arsenal an early lead and it would be an increasingly familiar double act that would unlock the door. Parlour won a fifty-fifty ball with Nolan, before releasing the ball to the pass master himself. Dennis Bergkamp surveyed the scene with the ball at his feet, unperturbed by the wall of white shirts that crowded his peerless vision; Bergkamp accessed his infra red homing device for the chip he had placed in Ljungberg`s boots. With his target locked, Bergkamp weaved a laser guided through ball to Ljungberg for the Swede to continue his incredibly rich scoring vein and smash a low finish past Jaaseklainen via his right hand post. Bolton had been sucker punched as Ipswich, West Ham and Tottenham had been before by a Bergkamp through ball finished ably by the red headed Swede. The home side looked deflated as Arsenal`s already supreme confidence was embellished further. On 41 minutes, Bergkamp was plain showing off, proving that it was not only Freddie Ljungberg that benefited from his cyborg vision. Patrick Vieira it was this time that, in typical fashion, won the ball in the centre circle, striding forwards a few steps before finding Bergkamp between Bolton`s defence and midfield. Again he raised his head and laid out a red carpet behind Bolton`s defence, inviting Sylvain Wiltord to run onto his slide rule pass to beat Jaaskelainen and make it 2-0. The Bolton fans again cheered the goal.

I always thought that it was as if Bergkamp had a radar in his head, much like the one you`ll find at the bottom of the screen on a computer game. This game really magnified that and just how much Ljungberg`s scoring form was aided and abetted by Dennis` craft. The second half was played in cruise control, with Arsenal looking to save themselves for the impending Cup Final with Chelsea and Bolton resigned to their fate. Kanu and Henry went close late on, but the final whistle was greeted with the sight of Bolton fans applauding the Gunners from the pitch. Our coaches were greeted with widespread thumbs up from passing Bolton fans as we headed for the M1 and Arsenal were in the enviable position of beating Chelsea to win the F.A. Cup and following up with the league title at Old Trafford. The smile on my face the next morning at school was a subtle giveaway that no such Orthodontist work had been done.LD.




Win £1,000,000 every week with Man of the Match®

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday September 19 2008
Time: 1:27PM

Comments

0
Da da, da da, da da daddada.....we love you....
shewore
19/09/2008 13:54:00
0
nice write-up
akintayor
19/09/2008 14:15:00
0
Nice one LD, and I just wonder if you're too busy/tired for the Kiev match report but had time to write this one hehe.
GoonerLou
19/09/2008 20:24:00
0
I'm doing a 1,500 word write up on Kyiv for the Gooner right now! I'll try and get some pics on here on Sunday. Speaking of pics, top left in a light green jacket- that would be me http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/are-you-making-the-trip-to-the-reebok-
Little Dutch
19/09/2008 20:38:00
0
Haha indeed, where was that pic taken?
GoonerLou
20/09/2008 01:27:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Premier League Team Of The Season So Far (25/3/17)

The Team of the Season so far based on statistical scoring points has now been released.

Ozil Remains Happy At Arsenal

German international Mesut Ozil has has again been speaking about how happy he is at Arsenal and he says that speculating about his future would be wrong, we'll simply see what...

Vote For The March Awards - 2016/17

The Premier League have now opened voting for the Manager, Player and Goal of the Month awards for March.

A Premier League Brexit Breakdown

The numbers have been crunched from the Brexit vote and details have now been given for each local authority to provide an 'idea' of how fans of each Premier...

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Rocky7
Editor email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

West Brom MotM
Suggested By:
Cech3%
Bellerin4%
Mustafi0%
Koscielny0%
Monreal4%
Oxlade-Chamberlain0%
Xhaka31%
Walcott0%
Ramsey9%
Welbeck4%
Sanchez45%
Sub-Ospina0%
Sub-Giroud0%
Sub-Iwobi0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 28 22 3 3 69 38
2 Spurs 28 17 8 3 59 34
3 Man City 28 17 6 5 57 24
4 Liverpool 29 16 8 5 56 25
5 Man Utd 27 14 10 3 52 19
6 Arsenal 27 15 5 7 50 22
7 Everton 29 14 8 7 50 21
8 WBA 29 12 7 10 43 1
9 Stoke 29 9 9 11 36 -9
10 Southampton 27 9 6 12 33 -3
11 AFC Bournemouth 29 9 6 14 33 -12
12 West Ham 29 9 6 14 33 -12
13 Burnley 29 9 5 15 32 -11
14 Watford 28 8 7 13 31 -15
15 Leicester City 28 8 6 14 30 -14
16 Crystal Palace 28 8 4 16 28 -10
17 Swansea 29 8 3 18 27 -27
18 Hull City 29 6 6 17 24 -32
19 Middlesbrough 28 4 10 14 22 -13
20 Sunderland 28 5 5 18 20 -26
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

Apr 2 2017 4:00PM : Manchester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 5 2017 7:45PM : West Ham United (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 10 2017 8:00PM : Crystal Palace (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 17 2017 8:00PM : Middlesbrough (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 22 2017 3:00PM : Sunderland (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 23 2017 3:00PM : Manchester City (H)
FA Cup

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.connor2
2.Naijagunner1
Vital Football Comment