Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Arsenal

  • April 24, 2011 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton bounced back from last weekend's FA Cup heartbreak by all but ending Arsenal's title hopes with a 2-1 victory at the Reebok Stadium.

Daniel Sturridge gave the hosts the lead seven mintes before the break after heading home from close range.

Kevin Davies had the opportunity to double the lead just a minute after the break, only to see his penalty kick saved by Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after Sturridge had taken a tumble under a challenge from Johan Djourou.

Robin van Persie equalised just moments after, but Arsene Wenger's side ultimately left disappointed as Tamir Cohen headed home from a corner in stoppage time to keep Wanderers in with a shout of European football next term.

The Gunners started well and were presented with the first chance of the game with just four minutes on the clock.

Cesc Fabregas picked out the run of Theo Walcott, who cut inside from the right flank before seeing a shot parried by Jussi Jaaskelainen. Samir Nasri sent the rebound goalwards, only to see it blocked and cleared by Gary Cahill.

Fabregas hit an effort over the crossbar soon after and he was back in the action again on 16 minutes, bringing Jaaskelainen into a smart low stop after unleashing a 25-yard strike.

Wanderers had a great chance to take the lead on 24 minutes, with Sturridge's pass allowing Lee Chung-Yong to run in behind the Gunners defence. The South Korea international should have taken the ball goalwards, but instead decided to check back and the chance was gone.

Nasri dragged a shot wide of the target ten minutes before the break, moments before Bolton hit straight up the other end, with Szczesny denying Chung-Yong and Laurent Koscielny putting the ball behind.

From the resulting corner, Bolton took the lead. Chung-Yong's cross was headed goalwards by Cahill and after it was blocked on the line by Nasri, Sturridge reacted quickest to head the ball into the net from close range.

Television replays showed Cahill's header may have crossed the line, but the goal was credited to Sturridge, making it his seventh strike in nine games for the Trotters.

Arsenal hit back and could have been level before the break, with Fabregas' shot coming back off the post with Jaaskelainen beaten.

van Persie sent a free-kick into the stands with the last action of the first half, with Wanderers taking their lead into the interval.

Just 30 seconds after the restart, Bolton were presented with the opportunity to double their lead, as Sturridge went down inside the area under a challenge from Djourou.

Kevin Davies stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, only to see his tame effort blocked by the legs of Szczesny, before the Gunners hit straight up the other end and equalised.

After playing a one-two with Fabregas on the edge of the box, van Persie got between two Wanderers defenders before sweeping a low strike into the bottom corner, scoring for the seventh successive away game and setting a new Premier League record.

Wenger's side soon went in search of the lead and they came close midway through the half when Nasri was sent clean through on goal. The Frenchman saw his first shot blocked by Jaaskelainen, before seeing his rebound blocked by Cahill with a superb last ditch challenge.

Johan Elmander saw a dipping 30-yard strike swerve narrowly wide with 10 minutes remaining and the Swede was back in action again in the final minute of normal time, racing through on goal, only to see his strike turned behind for a corner by Szczesny.

From the resulting corner, Cohen got away from the marking of Djourou to send a thumping header into the back of the net. The Israel international took off his shirt to reveal a picture of his late father and was subsequently booked by referee Mike Jones.

Five minutes of stoppage time were added, but the Gunners failed to break through a resiliant Bolton backline and the Trotters were rewarded for their performance with three vital points.

Following the final whistle, referee Jones apologised to Cohen for showing him the yellow card, although he was left with no option under FIFA rulings.

The victory leaves Bolton in eight position in the Premier League, knowing victory at Fulham on Wednesday night will see them leapfrog Everton into seventh.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong, Elmander (Klasnic 90), Muamba (M Davies 71), Taylor, Sturridge (Cohen 85), K Davies
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Petrov, Rodrigo, Wheater
Booked: Muamba, Taylor, K Davies
Goals: Sturridge 38, Cohen 90

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song (Chamakh 65), Wilshere (Ramsey 84), Walcott (Arshavin 73), Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie
Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Squillaci, Eboue, Gibbs
Booked: Song, Wilshere, Chamakh
Goals: van Persie 48

Attendance: 26,881
Referee: Mike Jones

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 26 27
20 Milton Keynes Dons 27 25
21 Tranmere Rovers 25 22
22 Southend United 26 13
23 Bolton Wanderers 24 7
View Full Standings >>


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