Robin’s One Ton Destruction Gives Arsenal The Points
Arsenal 3 – 0 Bolton Wanderers
1 – 0 van Persie (46)
2 – 0 van Persie (72)
3 – 0 Song (88)
Wheater sent off (55)
Arsenal grabbed three points and a clean sheet with a bits and pieces performance, the sort that is necessary to lift the slough which has engulfed the club. On it’s own, the win is not enough to achieve that aim, simply the first building block. If nothing else it has stopped the turgid mindset of those talking of relegation, for a week if nothing else. That could all return with an adverse result next Sunday, of course.
Hero of the hour was Robin van Persie, gleefully telling the world of his position as 17th player to score 100 goals for Arsenal before being knocked sideways with a dismissal of his leadership and a £30m bid from Manchester City. He might reach his next half century a mite quicker if he improves his finishing from set pieces, although he was a whisker away from scoring from Arteta’s firm touch.
It might all have been so different. Bolton capitalised on uncertainty in the Arsenal defence, Sczczesny clawing Pratley’s effort wide. A set-piece and Arsenal were almost undone. The nerves of the previous weekend had yet to be quelled. Wheater had nudged the ball wide before Gervinho found himself through but the leaden touch allowed Jaaskelainen to dim the opportunity. The Bolton ‘keeper had been linked heavily with Arsenal in the past and seemed intent on resurrecting those memories with some outstanding work in the visitors goal. Those moments were fleeting but enough to keep Arsenal at bay for spells.
The first half bustled to its conclusion, flickering into life with half-chances for Gervinho and Walcott whilst Koscielny found that shinning the ball into the net is more difficult than a clean strike of the ball. Halfway through the match, half the objectives achieved with a clean sheet looking likely. It left a lot of work to do in the Bolton half.
And immediately Arsenal set to work. Gervinho was felled on the edge of the centre circle, Ramsey took full advantage of a good refereeing decision to allow play to flow, finding van Persie who taunted and teased Muamba before beating him and Jaaskelainen at the near post. One minute not passed since the restart and a lead established.
It might have been two, van Persie denied and the game turned utterly in Arsenal’s favour with Wheater’s red card. It was not a debatable decision, Walcott had beaten the defender for pace and crucially none of the rest of the Bolton defence were anyway near fast enough to close the space, or create a perception of doing so. No matter how soft the foul, credit to Clattenburg for spotting and acting appropriately.
It changed the dynamic and Arsenal’s rise to the ascendant position in the match went unchallenged. Arteta, Sagna, RvP and Koscielny had efforts blocked, saved and denied before Walcott found space on the right, his cross was into the six yard area with enough pace to tempt Jaaskelainen but not enough to allow him time to gather. van Persie sensed the uncertainty and met the ball with a flick of his foot and goal number 100 had arrived.
Theo has clearly stated his intention of being a central striker in the future – and the now – but did his case harm with an outstandingly poor finish when clean through. It is easy of course to criticise from a distance but he had sold Jaaskelainen a perfect dummy with a cool finish into the corner waiting, instead tamely passing the ball toward goal, allowing the save to be made. It summed up Walcott’s afternoon when he tweaked a muscle and was withdrawn, scans will decide his availability for the coming matches.
As the whistle approached, Alex Song sealed the win, drifting into the area, fleet footed into space and curling home for the third.
The win does not signal a return to form or even hint at it. Three consecutive games scoring three goals shows something is right in that department, raising questions about defending generally with Samba and Cahill on the receiving end in the past two Premier League matches. At least that might have been the argument had the Bolton man played. The point is that such judgements are subjective, neither player is to blame for collective errors. Whilst it is possible to pin some blame directly on a player in some circumstances, no defender is entirely responsible for goals being conceded. Defending is a collective effort.
A clean sheet might instill some defensive confidence though, Wenger rightly highlighting the lack of confidence at the start. Whether the performance will heal that remains to be seen but a repeat in midweek will do no harm at all.
There is a predicted heatwave with sunny weather approaching. Perhaps Arsenal can mirror that with some winning performances in coming games.
Posted on September 25, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Robin van Persie, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 132 Comments.