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Arsenal 4 Bolton Wanderers 1

Following on from an incredibly boozy all night session on Friday in honour of my mate`s birthday, not returning home until 6am, the pub probably wasn`t the first place I should have been heading to upon waking shortly before midday. But understand this reader, I am a man of my word and if I say I`ll meet you in the pub at 1pm, you had best be at the bar at 12.55 getting the Guinness`s in! After a few resuscitators, we left the Tavern shortly after Tim Cahill made it 2-3 in injury time against Manchester United. "We`ll get to the stadium and find its finished 3-3." Lord Lowe sagely predicted. We didn`t have to wait until we got to the stadium. The instant we set foot onto the Blackstock Road an almighty roar went up from inside the Tavern. The manager switched the team selection significantly with some of the players who had endured midweek internationals given time to blow off some cobwebs on the bench.

The tone for the match was set rather early on. Tomas Rosicky picked the ball up in his own half glanced up and sent an inch perfect pass with the outside of his right foot to Arshavin. The Russian almost had too much time to ponder on his finish and ended up being thwarted by the legs of Bogdan. Arshavin`s finishing tends to be much better when it is instinctive. Midway through the first half, Arsenal had the goal their play had merited. Jack Wilshere flighted a delightful left footed cross, which reached the back post, where Cesc Fabregas had plundered beyond the slumbering Muamba, he touched the ball back across goal for Laurent Koscielny to bundle home his first Arsenal goal. At this point the home side slipped into cruise control and should have buried Bolton well before Stuart Atwell blasted his whistle for half time. A neat piece of control an d turn by Chamakh on the touchline left Zat Knight looking rather foolish, the Moroccan pulled the ball back into the box where Wilshere dummied for Rosicky, who sent his side footed shot straight at Bogdan. Then Bolton began with the roughhouse stuff which you come to expect from them. Kevin Davies went in late on Jack Wilshere, meaning he required treatment. No apology or remorse from Davies for an ex team mate. I feel utterly cheated that I ostensibly paid money to watch Kevin Davies play football. Other than his nuisance factor (in other words, the fact that he`s a fat, fouling toss bag that throws his elbows around), I saw Davies actually control the ball on the deck twice. Both times he attempted a pass to an unmarked team mate stood less than eight yards away. Both passes missed their intended target.

The Gunners had a stranglehold on the midfield, and Arshavin was given another glorious chance when Rosicky, Song and Cesc played a swift triangle in the centre circle, before Fabregas released Arshavin, but he put his chance into the side netting with Bogdan narrowing the angle. The Russian once again was to profit from the genius of Fabregas, the captain received the ball on the half way line with Zat Knight at his back. A gorgeous turn and through ball later, Knight was made to look slightly sheepish whilst Arshavin bore down on goal once more. Gretnar Steinsson sprinted back and held Arshavin up, which contributed to his finish once again hitting the side netting. Arsenal`s profligacy hit them hard when the Trotters found an improbable equaliser. From Bogdan`s goal kick, Davies beat Squillaci in the air. The ball looked to have comfortably dropped for Koscielny, but he made a right sow`s ear of his attempted header back to Almunia. Lee Chung Yong rounded the keeper but had been pushed too wide to shoot, so he hooked a cross to the back post which Johan Elmander gratefully headed into an empty net. It was a quite poor goal to concede, Koscielny`s momentary lapse in concentration was compounded by the fact that Eboue appeared to be walking in the penalty area whilst the move unfolded.

Following the shock of conceding from such a commanding position, Arsenal struggled to reassert their rhythm in the second half. Needless to say, when they came out of the rut and into the grove again, it was the imperious Fabregas choreographing proceedings. A delightfully impudent lofted ball over the top of the Bolton defence saw Chamakh racing through onside, but his left foot shot was touched around the post by Bogdan. The resulting corner was cleared as far as Arshavin on the edge of the box, he had the intelligence to work the ball back to Fabregas on the left, who sauntered to the by-line and stood a perfect cross up to the back post where Marouane Chamakh bagged yet another headed goal. Chamakh my bitch up! Any doubt as to the destination of the three points was extinguished a few minutes later. Alex Song appeared to trip Lee Chung Yong on the edge of the Bolton area, but Stuart Atwell waved play on. Song played the ball down the line to Chamakh who was taken out by a late tackle by Gary Cahill. Chamakh still managed to flick the ball onto Arshavin, who would have had a great chance of scoring had the referee, in keeping with his overly fussy performance. Atwell produced a red card which I felt was slightly harsh, if not the most outrageous red card I`ve seen. That`s three games now in which the opposition have had a player receive their marching orders, there seems to have been a crack down on reckless tackling which is no bad thing. Cahill`s tackle was late, from behind and studs were showing. In fact, it was rather similar to the one Ryan Shawcross executed on Adebayor two seasons ago. Obviously at this point, I am at pains to point out that Shawcross is not that type of player. But I felt the tackle by Robinson on Diaby was more worthy of a red card, it was high, it was late and it ended Diaby`s afternoon. Robinson`s feigning injury to try and get out of trouble was pathetic. Likewise Kevin Davies smashed into Koscielny very deliberately with zero chance of getting the ball, hurting himself in the process. Eboue was booked for being unhappy about it. It was clear that Atwell was an incredibly long way out of his depth.

From there it was merely a case of how many Arsenal would win by. Arshavin cut in from the left and sent a perfectly weighted pass to Rosicky on the right hand side of the area and Rosicky blasted the effort wide, proving he too could be as wasteful as Arshavin had been. But the two goal cushion duly arrived on 78 minutes. Alex Song won the ball from Stuart Holden in midfield, which freed Fabregas to again forage forwards and find Arshavin in the area. Song continued his run and Arshavin turned and picked him out on the edge of the six yard area. Song took one delicate touch past Knight before dinking the ball over Bogdan with a consummate finish worthy of any £30m striker. By now, it was time for the party pieces and the Gunners ran Bolton ragged, moving their beleaguered opposition around with twenty four consecutive passes. It was like watching a prime fighter reel off a string of body shots. Then Fabregas supplied the uppercut which drew blood from the upper lip, chipping yet another sublime through ball over the top of the Bolton defence. Carlos Vela gratefully ran onto the pass and administered the knockout blow with a sumptuous left foot finish. A move begat with 25 consecutive passes. I would bet money that Kevin Davies will not complete 25 passes before retirement.

The referee still had time to make another ludicrous decision, as Eboue careered into the box and was clearly taken out by Robinson in the area. Atwell gave a goal kick, thereby admitting that the Bolton player did not touch the ball. Nope, I can`t figure it out either. In the end, it was another pleasing and deserved victory and by and large an excellent performance. Rosicky once again impressed, whilst Arshavin looked as though he was very up for the game, even if he was a tad wasteful. The rhythm did not seem to desert the team after the international break and that would largely have been due to the rotation of the starting line up. But the afternoon well and truly belonged to Fabregas, who reminded you why we spent all summer fighting off the vultures. Casting an eye down on my notes taken during the highlights, the word "Cesc" is ubiquitous. He was involved in everything and the quality and weight of his passing must be a dream for our forwards. If Fabregas was off colour and lacking match fitness at Ewood, the Fabregas we saw this weekend was the one we have come to know and love. The turn and pass for Arshavin in the first half was effortlessly impudent. The sort of moment that makes you draw breath and remember why you parted with your hard earned for a ticket. His continued fitness will be a crucial factor in deciding our fortunes this season.LD.

1.ALMUNIA, 27.EBOUE, 6.KOSCIELNY, 18.SQUILLACI, 28.GIBBS, 17.SONG, 19.WILSHERE (2.Diaby `59, 15.Denilson `73), 4.FABREGAS(c), 7.ROSICKY, 23.ARSHAVIN, 29.CHAMAKH (11.Vela `81). Unused: 3.Sagna, 8.Nasri, 21.Fabianski, 22.Clichy.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 12 2010

Time: 2:38PM

Your Comments

Great game from Cesc, weighed in with 3 assists,and a couple of assist attempts - his through to ball to Arshavin was simply superb. The defensive pairing is relative new to Arsenal and English football, so they will need some time to adjust. Alumnia had a decent game, made 1 or 2 good saves. Arshavin's finishing was wasteful, but didn't hurt us much.
Think Atwell tried to be the super official and made a right balls-up of the job. Thought we had several possible penalty awards dismissed when on another day they would have been granted. Agree when he did dismiss Cahill I think he was trying to even up his mistake in not sending Davis off who should have been sent of for an earlier foul on Tommy which was a straight yellow making two for the afternoon and the straight red for his head butt on Koscielny. Thought Jack played well and apart from one stuff up showed he is not out of place in the first team.
It was a good performance given the number of changes we made. But everyone contributed and we met the physical challenge pretty well too.
Cesc was immense yesterday. Absolutely outrageous passer of the ball. As for the sending off, yes they should have had a free kick, but that is a clear red card. Both feet off the floor, studs showing tackle from behind, if that isn't a red card then what is? Ok it wasn't the most violent of tackles, but we've seen lesser challenges break legs before, it's unacceptable to tackle like that and he rightly got his marching orders ... about the only thing the ref got right all day.
Picture of Robinson's tackle on Diaby. Disgraceful tackle from a disgraceful hateful player.
The best word I can think of to describe Cesc's football is sumptuous. He can read and see the play as though he's watching from the stand! A pleasure to watch live. Felt Chamakh was outstanding too - workrate and hold up play were top notch. Having seen clips of Diaby in France's midweek game playing so well, was really looking forward to watching him play. As for Bolton, the more English football and its pundits keep playing up the way teams like Bolton play, the further they'll be from ever producing the kinds of players you need in modern football.
hey everyone, haven't seen the full game highlights yet but i was just wanting to know how Koscielny played? i know he made a mistake and scored a goal but i've heard apart from the obvious error he had an outstanding/dominating game at centre back. also if anyone can give their opinions on squillaci debut performance i would be very grateful :)
I thought it was a good performance all round. A negative for me, though, was Almunia's kicking. It was absolutely horrendous. Early on he took a freekick quite far wide, assumably looking to go long towards Chamakh but instead he played an incredibly bizarre and rather dangerous square ball to Koscielny. I also think he could have done better with the goal but maybe I'm being too critical. To his credit he made a couple of commendable stops but unfortunately I can't bring myself to trust him, a mistake always seems to be waiting around the corner. Obviously Cesc was terrific but I was also impressed with Arshavin's work ethic and attitude if not his finishing (was also rather amusing to see him begin to trot off the pitch only to see Chamakh's number come up instead of his). The Morrocan continues to work hard, and like against Blackpool made up for an earlier chance that he should have put away with a towering header. His contribution cold be priceless this season. Dreadful error aside, Koscielny also stood out for me; arguably even more comfortable on the ball than Vermaelen and appears to be as good in the air. Experience will help iron out the couple of mistakes he's made but he's certainly a quality talent. It was a terrific leap and powerful header before Davies cynically headbutted him, and you have to give him credit for playing on as well. LD, what did you make of Squillaci? A lot of sites are calling it "a terrific debut" and think that he should be a regular but I wasn't as impressed as many of these other bloggers. He was okay, don't get me wrong, but he's certainly not as quick or mobile as Koscielny or Vermaelen and got beaten by Davies several times aerially. Too early to judge perhaps but I don't think he merits being given a regular starting berth.
There's something about Koscielny that i really like and he's already becoming one of my favorite players to watch.... along with all the others, haha!! Aesthetically he's graceful and composed which instils confidence, he has perfect positional intelligence that just seems to come naturally to him and i love the way he times his interceptions much like Vermaelen. Yesterday we saw him dominate all the aerial battles and clear numerous corners or crosses, something we have need to strengthen for a few seasons now. All that and i haven't mentioned his reputed skill at tackling because as yet we haven't seen him have to make that many. It's easy to criticize his only 2 errors since they both led to goals and it's clear from these mistakes that he lacks experience but that will come and he must be a fast learner considering his rise to the top... but damn he looks good.
insider says
I started out being concerned that our CBs for this game will be players without EPL experience but have to say they both held their own against the thuggery of the Bolton players. It is apt to be reminded that we found it hard dealing with this style 2 seasons ago; so, I'll consider the defenders' performances as an improvement. Kos was his usual self, winning headers (even against Davis), snapping at the heels and making those timely tackles. Squillaci had an okay, consummate performance, nothing spectacular; made his presence felt both defensively and offensively and for me, is a useful signing who can get into the first team, should any of the CBs slip up. Well, thank goodness it is the Manager who has to worry about such decisions.
** timely interceptions**, more like.
Arshavin does need to be more clinical in goal, Vela had 1 attempt and put the ball away, we won't always get as many chances in a game and you aslways gotta take what you can get! That aside (and the Bolton goal) everything went well.
Almunia is being blamed for the goal again? It's getting hilarious guys.
It cerainly is, yet people turn a blind eye to West Ham's goal on Saturday. Cech makes a tame punch and Parker scores on the volley. Almunia's punch at WHL in April was much more emphatic than Cesch's limp wristed attempt, but nobody seems to blame Cech. Joe Hart dropped an almighty clanger which is swept under the carpet.
Little Dutch
Its just amazing the number of screw ups Atwell has committed
I don't think anyone is sweeping anything under the carpet LD, just that it doesn't matter to us, the same way most other fans probably don't give two craps about Almunia. That said, to blame him for the goal on Saturday is plain ridiculous. He did his best with what he was given, if he didn't come out they score for sure, what he did gave us a fighting chance. Just didn't quite come off. If you desperately feel then need to point fingers then there's only one direction you can point them when you look at it. Simple header messed up big time.
Rocky7 Tackle on Diaby for anyone who didnt see it due to MOTD ignoring it
He's not that type of player though.......In a match against Port Vale on the 29 April 1999, Robinson made a poor tackle on Vale player, Stewart Talbot, breaking Talbot's leg. The injury kept Talbot out of the game for 10 months and resulted in legal action from the player.
Elbows Davies should've been sent off and the tackle by Robinson is quite horrific to be honest, Diaby is lucky his leg didn't snap. Had that been his standing foot it definitely would. And the people who say Wenger doesn't give enough opportunities to English players can STFU; Wilshere has started in 3 out of 4 games this season and played in them all.
Happy days! Love the lovely Cesc. Exquisite footballer. Vision, intelligence, movement, touch. Got it all.
Gronedrone, also shows that Pearce is more is more interested in making stupid statements and getting himself publicity than bringing through players. Apparently his head's not right for England u21 but he's OK for Arsenal.
I need to get this out of the way first: I HATE KEVIN DAVIES!!!!!
There were 2 players who were a joy to watch this weekend: Ozil and Cesc! It will kill me to see him leave us. (The Bernabeu crowd got up to applaud him as he left the pitch on Saturday). Sumptuous is right. What a player. I read a stat a couple of wks ago, I don't know if it's true - last season Cesc had the highest number of assists for an AM in all of Europe. Also, I like Owen Coyle but instead of bitching about the red card and the free kick not given, he should remember the blatant penalty not given to us earlier in the game and just STFU. Sorry to hear about yet another broken leg in the PL (Zamora). Would love to see a comparison of serious injuries like this between leagues. As to blaming Almunia for the goal...huh??? That was clearly Koscielny's fault, wtf are people talking about???
---Love the lovely Cesc. Exquisite touch. Got it all. julieloveshenry4ever---- Julie, how do you know about Cesc's touch? Is there something you want to share with us? Another red top headline in the making perhaps? ;o)
Watching Cesc play is so frustrating. All that potential is really starting to show itself on the pitch and he’s starting to show the arrogance (in his play) of a great footballer….and this time next year he’ll be wearing a Catalan shirt. Anyway, things are looking good for us and 4-1 against Bolton is a very decent result. What’s the news on Diaby?
Sir Henry
Jaelle - that's exactly what I was thinking; what are the comparisons between the major leagues of serious injuries? Maybe our man Amos can come up with the required analysis and stats...
Also, it's incredible how the media has not shown the tackle on Diaby-imagine if that had been Diaby on a nice English lad. Diaby's and Gallas' bad tackles were shown constantly in seasons past.
Absolutely right. The furore created by TalkSport et al about Gallas' tackle on the Bolton player last season was amazing compared to Diaby. That was inches away from being another Eduardo. Sides like Bolton, Blackburn and Stoke are utterly detestable. And you don't see Hansen complaining about their thuggery like he did about the Dutch in the World Cup final.
Davies headbutting Koscielny 3 seconds after the latter had headed the ball away was a deserving 2yellow card. Also Steinnsson*spellcheck* on Diaby was another and lastly Muamba on Eboue was a penalty. All these were ignored because Cahill had been sent out.
Other OT observations from the weekend: 3rd most delightful player to watch was Valbuena for Marseille v. Monaco / the fantastic Paraguayan Nelson Valdez who shone at the wc v. Barca, who lost to the mighty Hercules! / Milan thrash Lecce one weekend only to crap out against newly promoted Cesena - it's more common to see such inferior sides shock top clubs in Spain or Barca than it is in the PL / Went to the Red Bulls game on Saturday and saw Henry's wonderful goal v. Colorado Rapids / counting the handful of times the ball was on the ground in the Birmingham-Pool game and contrasting it to the brilliance of our game on Saturday
Cesc v. Bolton
Who's that french player? Sign him up Wenger!
Speaking of bad tackles take a look af this one, absolutely horrific but atleast he was given his marching orders
Good piece about MOTD completely ignoring the foul on Diaby
The Guardian's Fiver column has a good section on the Diaby and Zamora tackles:
I wish, LG! And I wouldn't doubt it one bit either! :)
I never directly blamed Almunia for the goal did I? There's no doubt Koscielny is the man responsible, I just questioned whether the keeper could have done better. I wrote the comment before seeing a replay of the goal, as I initially thought he was too slow off his line and didn't do enough to try and stop the ball from crossing the line, but having now seen the incident again, I accept there was in fact little he could do. In my defence, I was sat up in the Clock End gods! I said in my comment that it was probably harsh, and having seen the retrospective footage, it was. I don't want to be branded an Almunia 'hater', who just comes on here to slate him, because I'm not, I was just expressing views gained from my perspective which were apparently horribly wrong.
SG, I thought Squillaci had an ok game but it was a gentle intro, Bolton's only move was to lump the ball to Davies and Kos was marking him for the most part. I thought he did it well too, He got in amongst Davies, as that fat **** doesn't have the technical ability to turn a player that's getting up his arse or to even use his body with any subtlety, he just throws an elbow and that's about it. It was amusing to see Davies trying to lean back into him in the second half a few times and Kos just took a step back and let him fall on his fat arse.
Little Dutch
Ah! If Kos can perfect the side/back step trick against Chelsea's Drogba, we can give him a bad night against us, for a change.
That was OT, but leaning into naive defenders and getting change off them is what Drogba does so well, apart from always appearing to be at the right place.
Actually tons of people have blamed Cech at Vital Chelsea. Plus its only our 1st goal conceded and if only goals of that caliber are gonna be conceded I see no further reason to criticise. Keep Cech out of your Almunia discussions. (what does his performance have to do with anything?) Anyways grats on beating Bolton, they were a physical side and you came on top.
thanks for your command, we'll keep it in mind
ChelseaDC, firstly, I'll discuss what I like thank you. Secondly, the comment had nowt to do with Chelsea fans, but Arsenal fans under the illusion that every other keeper in the league is totally infallible.
Little Dutch
OT: Why so many clubs around the world copy Arsenal:
LOL! Spurs Brazilian signing Sandro was left at Stansted Airport after being misinformed about his place in their Champions League squad. - poor kid, great way to be introduced to English football.
Interesting article about all the Arsenals Jaelle. I'm personally quite nervous about our CL group and think we're not going to find it easy at all. Tomorrow is a must-win.
This is where I was on Saturday night, tho you can't see or hear me, but it was a blast:
I'm gonna watch my first Spurs match this season. I fancy a narrow Bremen win, but Spurs could snatch a draw if they don't get overrawed by the occasion.
Bremen are being totally outplayed.
Does anyone not think the Robinson tackle on Diaby was a foul? Why do bbc and skysports keep referring to it as a 'heavy challenge' or 'hard tackle' why not 'foul'? because the ref didnt call it? ref didnt call eduardos dive against celtic a dive, but the media on to on to you....
LD - I hardly think having the opinion Almunia isn't a great (good enough for Arsenal) keeper comes hand in hand with being "under the illusion that every other keeper in the league is totally infallible."
Admitedly, I did word my comment inappropiately, although I do come in peace (for now).
Admitedly, I did word my comment inappropiately, although I do come in peace (for now).
I think they often do FuiKaka, when people try and tell me that Almunia is in the bottom third of keepers in the league, it rather goes against any sort of subjective analysis. You realise after a while that Almunia's errors (which are seldom monumental, throw the ball in your own net type of errors) are replicated in every keeper if you look hard enough.
Little Dutch
LD, when people say that about Almunia they're referring to his ranking by the stats last season. He was indeed in the bottom third. I think he ranked something like 17th or 19th actually. However, it's myopic to reduce Almunia that stat only -- the previous season, he was ranked 4th. So no, he's not the worst keeper in the league, he's demonstrably a good keeper. He just isn't good enuf for a title-chasing team. I'm just hoping he'll have a brilliant season, establish a brilliant understanding with his defense, and prove us all wrong.
Depends which rankings you look at I suppose, I think actim had him as 5th? Stats aren't very revealing for a keeper, throwing the ball into your own net and conceding a thunderbolt into the top corner amount to the same thing statistically. I can understand people who say he's not top drawer- I don't think he is either. He's just not as bad as others would have you believe and when you look around the league objectively, there are few that are OBVIOUSLY better than him.
Little Dutch
Every keeper drops a bollock at some point or other in there career, event he best keepers. Almunia's last season may not have been 'monumental' so to speak but he made too many and was not a good enough goalkeeper for a team who is chasing premier league and champions league glory, far more basic errors then keepers like Cech, Hart or Reina. On saying that, he is looking improved this season (be it only 5 games so far) ...maybe he needed people to get down on him? He's playing like he's got a point to prove now. Though i still feel slightly more nervous then i should when the opposing team is on the attack.

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