Bolton have announced that they will lodge an appeal against Gary Cahill’s straight red card at Arsenal last Saturday.
The Trotters’ captain was sent off in the 64th minute for a challenge from behind on Gunners striker Marouane Chamakh. Although Bolton boss Owen Coyle seemed satisfied with referee Stuart Attwell’s decision to blow for the foul on the Moroccan, there was a look of shock from the Scot when the colour of the card came out. Speaking about the sending off after the game, Coyle felt his side were hard done by: “My initial reaction was that he was harshly dealt with,” he said. “Perhaps it warranted a yellow card and I will look at it again but I do feel that we have been unlucky.” Coyle went onto criticise Attwell for being inconsistent- highlighting an incident that occurred minutes after the dismissal: “Just ahead of the sending-off there was the incident with Chung-Yong Lee and when we didn’t get awarded a foul then Arsenal broke and Gary came in and tackled late.” The decision to appeal will come as no surprise to fans as Cahill, who made his international debut last week against Bulgaria, has been subject to a huge amount of interest from some of the top Premier League clubs after a solid two seasons at the Reebok.
Saturday didn’t quite go to plan for Bolton as their unbeaten start to their 2010/11 campaign took a hammering away from home at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger’s side cruised to a 4-1 victory, and although Cahill’s red card fell with the sides just a goal apart at 2-1, the Gunners could have easily had five or six in the first half. Wenger’s summer signing Laurent Koscielny opened the scoring in the 24th minute, but a defensive mistake at the other end of the field by the Frenchman allowed Johan Elmander to nod in a Chung-Yong cross just before half-time. The away side came out after the break looking revitalised following the goal, but a reluctance to really punish in the final third allowed the Gunners back into the game. Jack Wilshere came close before Chamakh headed in the first of three second-half goals. The game was then marred by Cahill’s clumsy attempt at a tackle near the dugout which ended Bolton’s hopes of getting back into the game. Chances for the Trotters came few and far between as Arsenal heaped on the pressure and Alex Song subsequently added a third on the 78th minute. The crowd were then treated to an awe-inspiring moment just five minutes later, Carlos Vela finishing off a slick passing move that lasted almost half a minute. The result sent Bolton down seven places to 12th following other results on the day.
Many will forget about Bolton’s first defeat of the campaign as several teams will lose by more than three goals at the Emirates, but it will be up to Coyle to rebuild fast following the loss. Although not one to look for excuses, the Scot felt that the sending-off hampered their chances of getting a result: “We began the second half well and at 2-1 down we were taking the game to Arsenal,” he said. “Playing Arsenal eleven versus eleven was always going to be difficult, so losing Gary Cahill was a major moment because up to then we were still in the game.” Coyle did however have a few kind words for a couple of his men that seemingly didn’t deserve to be on the end of the heavy defeat, particularly sympathetic towards young keeper Adam Bogdan, whose first Premier League start was marred by the loss, as well as giving a nod of appraisal towards striker Elmander’s recent scoring record. “Certainly young Adam Bogdan didn’t deserve to be on the end of a 4-1 scoreline,” he said. “He acquitted himself well and we fashioned a good goal with Johan netting his third in three games.” Fans won’t ponder too much on the defeat at the Emirates as many would have taken a draw before kick-off. Things also aren’t as bad as they look as far as league places go: despite the slump down the table they are only a convincing win away from third place, and will welcome their next fixture against an Aston Villa side who allowed a relegation-tipped Stoke to pick up their first points of the season in injury time last night. The appeal against Cahill’s red card will be heard today, and fans will be praying that the captain will be available to play against his former side next Saturday.