Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Arsenal
Man of the Match – Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
7th place. 1 point out of a possible 12. No win in 2012. 12 points behind Tottenham.
That’s the state of affairs of Arsenal’s league form this season, after the Gunners endured a pulsating goalless stalemate with Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on a chilly night.
Despite the best efforts of the league’s top striker Robin van Persie, Arsenal couldn’t get the goal they so required to keep the pressure on Chelsea. But, then again, Bolton had their chances too, in a end-to-end battle.
Arsenal dominated most of the first half. Dave Wheater cleared Robin van Persie’s header off a Thomas Vermaelen cross. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then lashed wide. However, Bolton had the more clear cut of opportunities, as he beat his marker Laurent Koscielny, but had his shot saved by Szczesny.
The chance of the match fell to Theo Walcott, who was sent clear by Chamberlain, but all he could do was force a nick from Bogdan, and the ball ended up going wide. David N’gog had another glorious opportunity when he got clear of the defence, but his angled shot went narrowly wide.
Per Mertesacker, yes, Per Mertesacker, found himself in the Bolton box, but was not quick to react off a van Persie cross.
Bacary Sagna, was on top of his game, and had a flawless evening on his return to first-team action. He kept Martin Petrov at bay most of the evening and displayed good play going forward. His cross in the second half found van Persie, with only the goalkeeper to beat, from the narrowest of angles, but the Dutchman only managed to rattle the post.
van Persie was showing his class going forward, and he rolled back the years, reminding Gunner fans of his compatriot, Dennis Bergkamp, as he attempted an audacious chip, that flew over the Bolton defence and keeper, but again he managed to find the post.
Bolton ended the game with a flourish, and should have been awarded a penalty in the 88th minute, when Mertesacker and Szczesny fouled Mark Davies in succession, but the referee didn’t oblige.
Arsenal threw on Thierry Henry and Tomas Rosicky, but to no avail. Next up, Blackburn Rovers.
Szczesny (7) – A nervous display, but a clean sheet none the less.
Sagna (8.5) – Best player yesterday for Arsenal.
Mertesacker (7) – Defended well. Needs to improve his shooting abilities, for the sake of the team.
Koscielny (7) – Not his best game yesterday.
Vermaelen (7) – Still seems out of position at left-back.
Song (6.5) – Had an erratic game.
Ramsey (7) – Kept possession well yesterday, but has run out of ideas. Needs a breather.
Arteta (7.5) – Controlled the game well for Arsenal.
Walcott (6.5) – Needs to bust his as* in training on his shooting.
Oxlade-Chamberlain (7.5) – Not his best game, yet was effective.
van Persie (8) – Another good game. Sadly, no goal to show for it.
Rosicky (6) – Came on too late to make any impact.
Henry (6) – Came on with 20 minutes left to play, but wasn’t able to work his magic.
Overall Team Rating – 7.03