Arsenal 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 10, 2009 | By Chris Mann
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A bare boned Bolton fell to an unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, their fourth in a row.

An 84th minute goal from substitute Nicklas Bendtner finally broke a resistant Wanderers defence, handing the Gunners all three points.

Nicky Hunt missed the game with injury, while Ebi Smolarek joined him on the sidelines after picking up an illness. Gary Cahill was also set to feature but failed a fitness test prior to the game.

Therefore, due to injuries and suspensions, Wanderers began the game with just four substitutes on the bench and lined up with Chris Basham making his first start for the club.

Unsurprisingly, it was Arsenal who began the game stronger and it was Robin Van Persie who had the first chance of the afternoon, but he shot over on 12 minutes after a good build up by Samir Nasri.

A mix up between Kolo Toure and Manuel Almunia almost allowed Johan Elmander in for Bolton moments later, but Johan Djourou was alert enough to clear the danger.

After a recent run of poor form, Andy O'Brien looked back to his best, continuously called upon in the air with Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor lurking inside the area.

Van Persie went close midway through the half, shooting over from a free kick after Kevin Davies had fouled Denilson.

Then, Bolton's injury worries increased as Elmander was forced off the field with what appeared to be a knee injury. Mustapha Riga took his place, moving to the right of midfield and Davies taking over as the lone striker.

The sides went in goalless at the break, but Arsene Wenger's side continued to threat after the restart, with Van Persie continuing to trouble the Wanderers backline.

Half hearted appeals for penalty from the home fans were turned away soon after, with referee Chris Foy deeming Jlloyd Samuel had no controlled the ball with his hand.

Bolton's first chance of the afternoon came on 53 minutes, as Matt Taylor met a high ball, but his looping header was comfortably saved by Almunia diving to his left.

Gael Clichy teed up Adebayor before the hour but the resulting shot from the Togo international was weak and straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Adebayor then had the best chance of the game, after being played clean through by Nasri, the goal was gaping but O'Brien managed to recover and make a superb block to keep the game level.

Van Persie was next to come close for the Gunners, but his poked shot from inside the area rebounded off the post before being cleared to safety.

Bolton were now restricting their opponents to long range efforts and Jaaskelainen was alert to keep out an effort from Toure.

Then, Wanderers boss Gary Megson opted to replace Mustapha Riga, who had earlier come on as a substitute, with Temitope Obadeyi taking his place. Riga was obviously disappointed with the decision and walked straight down the tunnel.

With just six minutes of normal time remaining, the deadlock was finally broken as Arsenal got the better of the Bolton defence.

Van Persie got in behind Basham and Danny Shittu on the left before standing the ball up to the back post where substitute Nicklas Bendtner volleyed low and hard past Jaaskelainen.

Just a couple of minutes later, great work by Basham down the right allowed Davies a strike at goal, but his effort was tame and straight at Almunia.

Apart from that effort, and Taylor's earlier opportunity, Wanderers never looked like scoring and Arsenal looked comfortable as the full time whistle blew.

The result leaves Bolton in 12th, just three points above the bottom three with Manchester United next up at the Reebok Stadium.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Eboue (Bendtner 74), Diaby (Vela 64), Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor (Ramsey 88), van Persie
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Wilshere, Bischoff, Gibbs
Booked: Djourou, Ramsey
Goals: Bendtner 84

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Basham, Shittu, A O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander (Riga 39 (Obadeyi 77)), Davies
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Fojut
Booked: McCann, Riga

Attendance: 60,068
Referee: Chris Foy

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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