Arsenal v. Bolton
After the first tedious and costly international break of the new season, a wounded Arsenal returns to action against Bolton today. I don't want to dwell on the injury situation. I'm just glad proper football is back.
Also, there is no chance of snow and ice today. So all 14 of you Bolton supporters planning on making the trip south to the Grove today can come with the assurance that the match will go ahead as planned.
Arsene had positive things to say about today's opponent.
'I believe Bolton have a good mixture of a direct game and football on the ground,' he said. 'They have kept their strong assets up front with Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies. Also they have good crossers of the ball with Martin Petrov and Chung-Young Lee on the flanks. They can be a very dangerous side because they have a good mixture of a technical game and a direct game.'
'We are a mixture of patience and the need to dictate the way we feel the game has to be played. So you have to adapt to what you have and make the changes slowly and I feel Owen has done that well.'
Arsenal Team News:
We've all heard about the injuries. So I'll just briefly go you a list of who is out.
Bendtner (groin), Frimpong (knee), Ramsey (broken leg), van Persie & Walcott (both ankle), Vermaelen (Achilles)
In better news Nasri and Denilson are back and will be included in the squad if necessary.
Predicted Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Cesc, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh
Player to watch: Sebastian Squillaci
Arsene Wenger has spoke very highly of his compatriot. I have high hopes that Sebastian can break the curse the #18 kit seems to have on French centre backs.
Bolton Team News:
Jussi Jaaskelainen will sit out his first of three matches after being red carded for hitting Roger Johnson in late August. Adam Bogdan will make his first Premier League start in his place. Owen Coyle will also be without Sean Davis and possibly Ivan Klasnic.
Player to watch: Martin Petrov
I've always been impressed with Petrov, and I think he was not given a fair chance at Man City. He could be a handful for whichever Arsenal fullback he lines up against.
Match Facts & Stats
Arsenal have won their last eight league and cup games against Bolton
The Gunners are unbeaten in their last eight home league matches since losing 3-1 to Manchester United in January
Bolton and Newcastle are the only two Premier League sides to name the same starting line-up in their first three games this season
Youngster Stuart Attwell will be the head official for today's encounter.
I'm wary about this match. I don't believe it will be as simple as others think. I'll go with another scrappy 2-1 win for Arsenal. Chamakh and Cesc on the score sheet for the home side.
15/9 (Wed) - Braga (h) - Champions League
18/9 (Sat) - Sunderland (a) - Premier League