Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Deadline Day and Bolton (A)

Wow! What a Sunday. At half time I was getting ready for the barrage that I'd receive from friends Monday morning. At the final whistle the story had changed considerably. A game of two halves is certainly the way to describe it. The first half we were unlucky not to score but defensively we were a shambles and were caught out from a set piece as we so often are. 2-0 down at the half and the boo's that we have become accustom to hearing rang out louder than ever. The second half was a whirlwind, we came out fighting and the warning signs were there with shots and attacks reigning down on the Villa goal. Ramsey charged into the box and was sliced down by Dunne who already on a yellow was lucky to stay on, Arsenal penalty. RVP stepped up and slotted it in beautifully, the comeback was on. Moment later a rather lucky Walcott was on the scoresheet after being greedy and going for goal from an impossible angle then saw the ball cannoned off his shoulder and in. He then proceeded to celebrate as if he'd scored a 40 yard screamer. A massive 16 minutes was capped off with a second penalty won by Koscielny, Van Persie again stepped up and creamed it in sending the remaining fans delirious. Not to put a damper on a fantastic performance by the lads but I was disappointed with some fans leaving early and not staying to clap the team off, after a performance like that I think that's the least they deserve.

So it's deadline day and there is news of an Arsenal departure and to be honest I think is best for both parties should it go through. Makachakala (I think that's spelt right) are holding preliminary talks about Andrey Arshavin. Now in a way I feel sorry for the little Russian who hasn't had the best luck of late and the fans are always very quick to get on his back, on the other hand he's lazy and when your in a position like we are you can't afford to have players not giving it their all. So a move is probably best for all parties, hopefully he'll be remembered for that historic night when he scored the winner against Barcelona and not for the wrong reasons, should it go through. That's about it from us I don't think we'll have any in comings. 

Tomorrow we play Bolton away and its a game where we've had mixed fortunes and were once seen as our bogey team. In some respects they still are, we lost there last season in our appalling final run in and there's no doubt it will be a tough game as Bolton are in need of as many points as they can get hold of. This makes them dangerous but it also makes them vulnerable. After 3 league loses we need to pick some points up if we're going to keep the pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham (who are entering the most crucial part of their season). 

We saw Alex OC start on Sunday along with Coquelin who has returned from his knock. It was fantastic to see Bacary Sagna come on for the last few minute and hopefully he'll start against Bolton as we've missed him badly. Mikel Arteta also reappeared which is good to see as I think he plays a vital role in the midfield, allowing Ramsey to push forward a bit more. Gradually our players are returning, Diaby is expected back end of Feb/early March, Gibbs is a week or 2 away as well as Jenkinson. Santos is expected back mid March and although Wilshere has suffered a setback Wenger said:
"I spoke to Jack today. We have no real news yet. The first news we have had is better than expected. He is not in a boot, but I don't know more. His morale looks quite good and I hope it will only be a short setback.There will be more tests this week."
So I think the line up will be something along the lines of: Szczesny, Sagna(hopefully), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Ramsey, Arteta(hopefully), Walcott, RVP and Alex OC. As stated Sagna and Arteta are still touch and go but should they not start I imagine they will come on at some point.

Bolton have caused some upsets this season but their position in the table says it all really. Threats come from Ngog who has been touch and go and Kevin Davies who was rumoured to be leaving but so far I've heard nothing concrete. Reo-Coker and Petrov can also be a handful and we'll need to keep an eye on them. I think it will be a cagey affair with them seeing a point as a good result so I'm not expecting bags of goals.

Hopefully tomorrow we can kick off another good run at this vital part of this season. Next post will be Friday as we prepare to take on Blackburn at home. COYG!

Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Arsenal