Inspirational Gunners Leave Coyle Seething

Even the trepidation of 60,000 Arsenal fans at half time could not match the sense of injustice undoubtedly felt by Bolton manager Owen Coyle after the final whistle of a turbulent encounter at the Emirates Stadium last night.

The recently installed tactician saw his side take a shock 2-0 lead within the first half an hour of an occasion billed by many as the date which Arsenal would take charge of the Barclays Premiership.

But after leaking a goal before the break, the match became steeped in controversy as William Gallas’ appalling challenge after half time left Mark Davies, the Bolton midfielder, writhing in pain as the Gunners went on to equalise from the resulting passage of play.

The incident proved to be the turning point in the contest as the home side went on to attain the two-goal victory margin required to dislodge Chelsea at the top of the table, in a stunning 4-2 turnaround demonstrating the sort of steel that the Gunners have apparently discovered this season.

Bolton began in transcendent style, with Coyle’s side showing flashes of the attacking verve he instilled into his teams performances during his tenure at Burnley, as South Korean Chung-Yong Lee marauded the wing with the same zest and determination that had caused Armand Traore, the stand in Arsenal left back, so many problems during the reverse fixture last Sunday.

The Trotters’ industrious efforts were rewarded just seven minutes into the fixture as Gary Cahill volleyed home his seventh goal of the current campaign, following some soft defending from Abou Diaby and the returning Gael Clichy.

Continuing to press high up the pitch, Bolton restricted the time and space that Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal captain, was allowed on the ball, leaving the diminutive Spaniard and his team mates confounded in their own half for much of the opening half an hour, although they did muster glimpses of frightening one-touch football with Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin and Eduardo da Silva all contrite for thrashing at gilt-edged chances.

Matt Taylor was guilty of a glaring miss of his own on Sunday, but more than made amends for his error with a tireless performance during the first period, seemingly on a one-man mission to give his side the comfort of a two-goal cushion. He initially went close midway through the opening half, testing Manuel Almunia in the Arsenal goal with a low free kick, but eventually beat the Spaniard from the penalty spot after Arsenal’s Brazilian midfielder Denilson was penalised for a dire challenge on Lee.

As the stunned capacity crowd felt a familiar sense of capitulation creeping in, Arsene Wenger willed his team on from the dugout as his side continued to play ‘The Arsenal Way’ despite the two-goal deficit; slick one-touch passing moves gained greater frequency as the Gunners regained their composure, bombarding the Bolton goal in scenes reminiscent of The Alamo.

Wenger, in his thirteenth year at the helm of the North London side, may well have been gearing up to hand out another Anfield style rollocking during his half time team talk, but all that changed with just two minutes of the half to spare as Tomas Rosicky sparked the Arsenal goal machine into life, fizzing a stunning right-footed finish past the rooted Jussi Jaaskelainen who should have done better.

With Bolton yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this season, perhaps it was transparent that the visitors would eventually surrender their lead, however, Coyle will have been left fuming by the manner in which the equaliser was conceded.

William Gallas stole the ball back after a crunching tackle on the ankle of Mark Davies went unpunished. As the Englishman lay stricken on the Emirates Stadium pitch, the Frenchman exchanged passes with compatriot Bacary Sagna before feeding Arshavin, the Russian’s through ball bounced off of a couple of Bolton defenders before Fabregas took aim and slotted through the legs of Jaaskelainen from an acute angle.

The challenge by Gallas saw Davies  eventually stretchered off the field of play to the jeers of the home fans who should surely know better, following the horror tackle by Martin Taylor, the Birmingham City defender, that jeapordised the career of their Croatian striker Eduardo two years ago. 

As the tide well and truly turned in favour of the title chasing Gunners, the comeback was completed thirteen minutes later when Abou Diaby headed down for Thomas Vermaelen who superbly allowed the ball to run across him to create space before executing a finish that sizzled in off the upright.

The tiny Russian playmaker Arshavin then added the goal that clinched top spot in the Premier League, swapping passes with Eduardo before lashing a cracking drive past Bolton’s Finnish stopper from the corner of the six-yard box. It was perhaps harsh on the Trotters’ ‘keeper to concede four goals as his sides defensive frailties were alarmingly exposed yet again.

After this stirring comeback, Arsene Wenger’s men will need to summon all the grit and determination possible to match their abundance of talent and attacking flair as they gear up for a period which could be decisive in the Gunners’ quest for the title; they face Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in their next four League fixtures.

ARSENAL 4 (Rosicky 43, Fabregas 52, Vermaelen 65, Arshavin 85)

Team: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Diaby (Eastmond 76), Denilson, Fabregas, Rosicky (Vela 88), Arshavin, Eduardo (Walcott 90)

Unused Subs: Fabianski, Traore, Silvestre, Emmanuel-Thomas

Booked: Clichy

BOLTON 2 (Cahill 7, Taylor 28)

Team: Jaaskelainen, Robinson (Ricketts 90), Cahill, Knight, Steinsson, Muamba, Taylor, M Davies (McCann 56), Cohen, Lee (Klasnic 81), K Davies

Unused Subs: Al-Habsi, Samuel, O’Brien, Elmander

Booked: Muamba, M Davies

2 Responses to “Inspirational Gunners Leave Coyle Seething”

  1. Oscar Tollast Says:

    What do you make of the signing of Sol Campbell? Do you consider him past it? Or, do you feel he’ll add experience to a young Arsenal side?

    From a Pompey fan, he looked rather out of his depth towards the end of last season. It wasn’t that disappointing to see him leave.

    In the past I had a high opinion of him, but, since he’s decided to sue the club over compensation owed due to ‘image rights’, he’s gone down in my estimations.

    Greedy sod.

  2. spud284 Says:

    Firstly, I completely agree with what you’re saying about his compensation claim against Portsmouth, it’s not as if he desperately needs the money and he can plainly see that his former club are in enough trouble as it is without him adding to their problems.

    As for Campbell at Arsenal, he’s obviously not going to be the player he was a for us between 2001 and 2006, but I think he provides us a with more assured option than Silvestre.

    It’ll be interesting to see now though, whether Wenger will dip into the market again with Vermaelen suffering a suspected broken leg last night against Villa, because his partnership with Gallas has been impressive in his debut season for us. Personally, if Vermaelen is going to be out for a while, I don’t think Campbell or Silvestre are the solution – particularly with games against Manchester United and Chelsea coming up.

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