Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Arsenal

  • February 01, 2012 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/efb03

Bolton's recent upturn in form continued as they took a point from a goalless draw with Arsenal to move two points clear of the relegation zone.

Arsenal had the best of the opportunities at on a cold night at the Reebok Stadium, with Robin van Persie twice being denied by the woodwork.

Wanderers looked the more likely winners as the game drew to a close and saw appeals for a penalty turned down with just a couple of minutes remaining, meaning both sides had to settle for a point.

Unlike previous games against Macclesfield Town and Liverpool, Bolton started slowly and it was all one-way traffic in the direction of their goal in the opening 20 minutes.

The first major chance arrived after 10 minutes, with van Persie meeting a cross from Thomas Vermaelen, only to see it cleared off the line by David Wheater.

The Dutchman saw another strike blocked by Wheater moments later, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired over the crossbar after a good run from Theo Walcott.

van Persie was in the thick of the action again on 16 minutes, with Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan relieved to see his strike fly over the bar from just outside the box.

From that point on, Bolton began to get themselves back in the game and David Ngog brought a smart stop out of Wojciech Szczesny.

Midway through the half, Ngog was presented with another glorious opportunity. A neat flick from Wheater sent the Frenchman clear on goal, but with only Szczesny left to beat, he curled his shot wide of the target.

The Gunners should have taken the lead on 26 minutes as Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out the run of Walcott. The England international raced clean-through on goal, only to see his poor shot deflect behind for a corner off the legs of Bogdan.

Surprisingly, neither side managed to create any goalscoring opportunities from as the first half wore on and the sides went in level at the break.

After a superb opening 25 minutes at the Reebok, the fans had to wait until the hour mark for the next chance to arrive and it came the way of the visitors.

Walcott found himself inside the Wanderers box after cutting in from the right flank, only to be left frustrated as Wheater was once again in the way to make a block.

That appeared to wake Arsene Wenger's side up and they almost took the lead a minute later as van Persie got on the end of a Bacary Sagna cross, only to see his volley come back off the post.

Bolton saw appeals for a penalty turned down as Ngog went down under a challenge from Vermaelen, before Aaron Ramsey fired a shot over Bogdan's crossbar midway through the half.

Ngog came close to giving the hosts the lead as the game entered the final 20 minutes, but after beating Szczesny in the air, his header sailed inches wide of the post.

With 10 minutes remaining, Arsenal almost went ahead in superb fashion. Seemingly with nothing on for him, van Persie made a yard of space on the edge of the Bolton box and chipped the ball to the far post, only to see it come back off the crossbar.

Tuncay replaced Martin Petrov for the final 10 minutes and he produced some fine touches as Wanderers looked to hit their opponents on the counter attack, but it was Mark Davies who stepped up in the closing stages.

First, he got the better of a mix-up between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny before going down inside the area under a challenge from Szczesny. Wanderers appeared to have strong claims for a penalty, but referee Chris Foy waved play on.

Davies was on the ball again in stoppage time, only to drag a shot wide of the post as an entertaining game at the Reebok finished goalless.

The point means Bolton remain one place above the Premier League relegation zone, with a trip to Norwich City next on the horizon this coming Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts, Eagles, Reo-Coker (Pratley 89), Muamba, Petrov (Tuncay 81), M Davies, Ngog (K Davies 74)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Klasnic, Boyata, Riley
Booked: Steinsson

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Ramsey (Rosicky 80), Song, Walcott, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Henry 69), van Persie
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Chu-Young, Arshavin, Benayoun, Coquelin
Booked: Vermaelen

Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 24,371

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Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Cambridge United 42 74
2 Cheltenham Town 41 72
3 Bolton Wanderers 42 70
4 Morecambe 42 69
5 Tranmere Rovers 42 66
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