Follow It's Round and It's White on Facebook

Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Arsenal (Arsenal Fan's Perspective)

Friday 3rd February 2012
Arsenal continued their miserable start to the New Year with a highly frustrating goalless draw which in every way felt like another defeat.

Having suffering three successive league defeats it was imperative for the Gunners to collect all three points at the Reebok Stadium, and the match carried even more importance as it gave Arsenal the opportunity to capitalise on Chelsea's draw against Swansea the previous evening.

However, in keeping with many of the club's recent visits to the North West, they simply failed to deliver and were made to rue several missed opportunities - leaving the club dangerously close to sinking away into the abyss.

Arsenal made two changes to the starting line-up from Sunday's FA Cup Fourth round against Aston Villa, as Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky made way for Bacary Sagna and Mikel Arteta. The visitors started the game very brightly and controlled the first half with many opportunities being created and missed. In the 8th minute Robin van Persie produced a goal-bound header from a Vermaelen cross which flew past Bolton 'keeper Adam Bogdan but  hacked off the line by David Wheater. Shortly after, the Dutchman provided a defence splitting pass for Aaron Ramsey, who found himself clear in the penalty area but contrived to shoot straight at Bogdan - a poor finish from a player visibly in poor form. Just a few minutes later Van Persie laid on another assist as he cut into the penalty area and found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, only for the impressive teenager to shoot wide of the post.

At this stage it seemed only a matter of time until Arsenal scored, but they were almost made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as David Ngog brushed aside Laurent Koscielny and forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save at the near post. Ngog continued to be a thorn in Arsenal's side as he somehow managed to burst his way through the Gunners' centre halves and narrowly dragged his shot wide. Towards the end of the first half Theo Walcott had the best of chance of the game after Oxlade-Chamberlain provided a neat pass to send his fellow Englishman through completely clear on goal and in acres of space. Unfortunately the England winger predictably wasted the glorious opportunity by sending his shot wide of the goal with only the keeper to beat.

The second half didn't quite live up to the thrills of the first as the tempo dropped with Arsenal in particular seemingly feeling the after effects of Sunday's stunning comeback win against Villa.  However the Gunners still came agonizingly close to taking the lead early in the second half courtesy of a chance from Van Persie, after the captain connected with a Sagna cross but saw his effort rebound off the near post.

Wenger introduced Thierry Henry and Rosicky to replace the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain and the disappointing Ramsey as Arsenal attempted to freshen up their approach for a much needed victory. They almost claimed the win with a touch of van Persie brilliance reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp as he produced a wonderful chip which soul-destroyingly came off the bar - Walcott latched onto the resulting loose ball but again woefully slammed his shot wide.

Arsenal had completely lost their grip on the game by the time the game entered the final ten minutes and they were almost made to pay as Szczesny was forced to touch the ball away from Mark Davies as the Bolton man broke through on goal, before former Gooner Fabrice Muamba slammed the loose ball wide into the stands.

Overall this was a bitter pill for Arsenal to swallow and while the performance itself wasn't bad, the result leaves the club in a critical position. To be entering February sitting in 7th position can only be described as catastrophic for the Gunners, and questions will rightly be raised about the future of Wenger. While they have no divine right to be in the top four, the situation is worsened by the fact that the side currently don't even seem to be putting up a strong fight to compete for a place in the Champions League. On the evidence of their performance at the Reebok, and throughout most of the season, there's a real worry over the lack of killer instinct within the Arsenal side. This is a problem that should have been resolved in the January transfer window but no sufficient attempt was made to ease the pressure on van Persie. This could prove to be a very costly error for Wenger and one that could extend the current barren spell for Arsenal.
Marc Davies
Marc is a passionate Arsenal supporter and keen follower of Welsh football. Marc has experienced the highs and lows of supporting the Gunners and regularly attends their matches both home and away. As a native of Cardiff, Marc also regularly attends games involving the Welsh sides in both the English and Welsh football leagues. Marc also travels around the globe to follow the Welsh international side. Marc’s favourite moments include the Arsenal’s 'Invincibles' 2003/2004 season and the Welsh International side's run to the 2016 European Championships Semi Finals. Marc’s favourite players are Aaron Ramsey, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira. Marc has achieved a BA (Hons) Degree in Broadcast Media and Popular Culture and a Masters in International in Journalism.

Total articles: 42

Latest Football Articles