Sep 20 2008
Bolton are sitting in 13th position in the Premier League with their 1-1-2 record but are level on points with Blackburn in 18th. They have scored 4 goals and conceded 4 goals in their first 4 games. At the Reebok Bolton are 1-1-0 with 3 goals scored and 1 conceded.
Wanderers are struggling to put the ball into the back of the net with only 2 goals scored in their last 4 games in all competitions and they were beaten here at the Reebok by Northampton Town in the Carling Cup.
Arsenal’s visit to the Reebok Stadium will be their third away trip in eight days after the 4-0 win at Blackburn and the 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kyiv. Wenger is likely to give some of his players a breather.
They have made a promising start to their league campaign with a 3-0-1 record, managing to score 8 goals and only conceding 1. Away from home they are 1-0-1 with 4 goals scored and 1 conceded.
Arsenal have bounced back from their 1-0 loss to Fulham earlier this season to win their next 3 games and draw 1 with 12 goals scored and only 1 conceded. Arsenal have managed 5 clean sheets from their first 7 games this season and have only failed to score in that 1 game at Fulham.
Arsenal will again be without midfielder Samir Nasri for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium. Nasri has not featured for the Gunners since the 3-0 home win over Newcastle last month because of a knee injury.
Recent signing Mikael Silvestre remains out with a muscular problem but there were no fresh injury worries from the midweek Champions League trip to Kiev.
Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Abou Diaby (thigh), Amaury Bischoff (groin) and striker Eduardo (leg) all remain in recovery.
Bolton record signing Johan Elmander is hoping to return to action in Saturday evening’s Premier League clash at home to Arsenal. The Sweden striker, who scored on his debut in the season opener against Stoke, has been out for almost a month with a hamstring injury.
Defender Matt Taylor remains on the sidelines with a broken toe but will see a consultant on Monday hoping to get the all-clear to return to training.
Gary Cahill is also missing as he completes his two-match suspension while loanee Ebi Smolarek, brought in a day before the deadline, only linked up with the squad on Thursday and will be given time to settle.
Predicted Line Ups:
Arsenal - Alumunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Van Persie, Adebayor
Bolton - Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, A O’Brien, Shittu, Samuel, J O’Brien, Gardner, Nolan, McCann, Muamba, Davies
Head to Head
The Reebok stadium was once a feared place for Arsenal, as from 2002/03 to 2006/07, the Gunners failed to register a single league victory in Bolton, losing on four of these five occasions.
Now, things are different, Reebok stadium is no longer a fortress and Bolton is merely a shadow of the team from couple of years ago. They are among the candidates for relegation and the visitors will see this game as one of the easiest away games of the season.
Last years corresponding fixture finished Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Arsenal after Bolton led 2-0 and Arsenal went a man down.
The Gunners have won 50% of their Premier League meetings with Bolton (nine of 18). Arsenal have won their last four league and cup matches against Wanderers. Wanderers three points against the North London club was on 25 November 2006, when Nicolas Anelka netted twice and Aboulaye Faye got the other in a 3-1 victory.
Gary Megson - “We have to go about it in the right manner. If we don’t, then we’ll get absolutely skated by them because they have even more quality than Fulham.”
Arsene Wenger - “We have either been really good or really bad there, lost or won, nothing really in between. Bolton for years had a good side - they still have - and that is why nobody liked to go to Bolton because everybody knows they give great commitment.”
Arsenal have made a strong start to the season and have shown some real character to recover from the early defeat at Fulham. They are hanging onto the coat tails of pace setters Liverpool and Chelsea and will want to take 3 points from here to keep the pressure up on the leaders.
They have shown some real quality in defence so far and I can see them scoring at least 2 goals here.
Arsenal to win at odds of around 1.66 looks like a decent bet this weekend.
Dutch striker Robin van Persie to score first should be around the 6.0 mark when the First Goalscorer market gets going and this might be a good bet.
One nil to the Arsenal is around 7.2 on the market.