Going into the meeting between the two sides, both Arsenal and Bolton were in similar positions, the Gunners with only three wins in their last 16 matches, and the Wanderers with nine defeats in their last 10. Clearly both teams have been struggling to make an impact in the Premier League this season, finding themselves brushed aside by opposing teams and proving to be very weak defensively.
Bolton made a decent start to the game and were certainly in the mix from the off, with former Arsenal trainee Darren Pratley forcing a good save from opposition keeper Wojciech Szczesny. However, after David Wheater was sent off for bringing down Theo Walcott, who had sped away from the central defender, the game became very one-sided. 1937 was the last time that Arsenal had failed to score in a home league game against the Trotters and they continued this trend in great style, with Robin van Persie scoring his 99th and 100th goals of his Arsenal career.
Although Bolton were forced to play most of the game with 10 men there is no hiding from the final 3-0 score line. In his post match interview when asked about one of the goals Coyle said: “It
Gary Cahill was missing for this game but regardless of this the problems in defence have clearly been around for a while and even with their in-demand defender, Bolton would probably still have struggled to keep a clean sheet in this game. What is perhaps more worrying for Bolton is that Arsenal have also been leaking goals left, right and centre this season yet they only once looked like troubling the hosts. For Arsenal this game could act as a springboard for the rest of their season, something that Coyle would have been hoping for his struggling side to gain from the fixture.
So far it has not been pretty to watch this season for a Bolton fan, and pressure will surely start to pile up, like it or not, on the manager, undoubtedly talented but not untouchable. Bolton’s woes, defensive and attacking, have been lingering far too long now, the slump seemingly beginning after their 5-0 loss to Stoke in the semi-final of the FA Cup last season.
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