Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Saturday January 27 2007
28th January 2007
Arsenal will have to be 'up for it` on Sunday when Bolton 'The return of the orcs` Wanders visit Ashburton Grove. Arsenal have beaten Bolton only once in their last 7 matches, a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup 2 years ago at The Reebok.
The two teams have had contrasting fortunes of late, Arsenal have lost only 1 of their last 14 games in all competitions while Bolton have not won in their last three Premiership games, including a 5-1 thumping from Middlesbrough last week.
Arsene Wenger`s red 'n` white army will be looking for some sweet revenge after a bitter 3-1 defeat last time the teams met. You know what they say, 'revenge is a dish best served cold`.
After Kevin Davies criticized Arsenal for bemoaning the way Bolton play against Arsenal Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to Bolton, claiming that they can in fact, play football: "Bolton are always a good character test. But they are a good side aswell. People sometimes forget that.
"OK they might have minimal resources but they have Nicolas Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf. They are not minimal resources players for me. This team can play.
"You can not say that Gary Speed is not a football player. Nor Ivan Campo or Kevin Nolan. They are good football players.
Chelsea wanted Tal Ben Haim. It is not just because he can kick the ball, it is because he is a good defender. That is why they are a team who get results."
Wenger went on to say that although Arsenal haven't fared too well against Bolton in recent times, he feels that we are now ready for this 'test of character': "Maybe one or two years ago we were not ready to face this type of opponent. But we are now.
'I feel the team has improved a lot on that side recently."
Sam Alladyce admits he is just a money grabbing, good for nothing old git: 'You get £1million for winning the FA Cup,' Allardyce said in The Sun. 'But if you move up two places in the Premiership, that's worth £1million too.
'Next season, with the new TV deals that have been signed, it will be worth £1.8million to go up two positions. By comparison, the FA Cup is insignificant.
The fat man went on to admit he really is a crap manager: 'But surely it's what you win that matters? I've helped this club to clear debts of around £45million since I took over, but I cannot put that in a trophy cabinet, can I?
Arsenal's injury worries have been increasing by the minute lately. Van Persie, Djourou, Gallas, Eboue, Hleb and Freddie Ljungberg are all out while Aliadiere faces a fitness test.
Gilberto is suspended following his red card against Blackburn Rovers and Jens Lehmann is rested.
Julio may not start the game but his form in cup competitions has been second to none this season, 6 goals (7 if you include his OG) in 2 starts.
He is really starting to show Gooners what he is all about. He has shown pace, power, strength and determination in recent apperances and I am confident he will continue that against Bolton.
As far as I'm aware diouf is the only players missing for Bolton as he is suspended.
Gardner is pushing for a start after recovering from injury.
Anelka has done reasonably well at Bolton since his return to the Premiership. He got off to a slow start but a brace against Arsenal back in November seemed to spur him on.
It wasn't pretty last time these teams met, let's hope it goes a bit better this time round:
I'm going for an Arsenal win. The Mighty Gunners are in fantastic form. We have seen players ranging from 38 down to 17 playing some outstanding football in recent weeks, no matter what team Arsene puts out I predict 2-0 to The Arsenal.
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Date:Saturday January 27 2007
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