Arsenal v Bolton - Match Preview

In the dusty confines of my bedroom rests a L.S Lowry painting called Going to the Match. The print illustrates the energetic activities of game day outside Burden Way, with a grim backdrop of brick chimneys and burning smokestacks. As Arsenal return to the Emirates to play Bolton for the second time in four days, the Gunners must not allow the comforts afforded them – far removed from the bleak industrial north west of the 1950s – to relax matters. It’s time to get dirty.
During the 2-0 victory on Sunday, Bolton showed they can be just as industrious as the busy crowd in Lowry’s oil painting. Hard work and graft will be drilled into them by new manager Owen Coyle, so Wenger’s men/ boys must be ready for a mucky affair.
By now though, it is looking as if Arsenal are experts in these types of games – maybe the Armoury will sell marigolds as part of the clubs 20010/11 full kit – and one reason why Arsenal are seven points better off at this stage compared to last season. Grinding out results is the new Arsenal way.
Theo Walcott and holding-man Denilson could return to the team tonight after subsequent rib injuries. Wenger seemed positive on both players’ injury concerns, and with new blows in Aaron Ramsay (thing) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) their return is much welcomed and well timed.
Denilson is likely to replace 19-year-old Craig Eastmond who made his Premier League debut on Sunday and Gael Clichy is expected to step in for left-back Armand Traore. Clichy’s short spell at the end of the weekends game is a positive boost since his French understudy has had mixed performances of late.
With a two goal margin victory, Arsenal will leap-frog Manchester United and Chelsea to top spot in the Premiership. Wenger’s men are looking strong at home this season, where they have attained 30 of their 55 goals, making them the leagues highest scorers. Bolton’s defensive weaknesses have been well documented this campaign and you have to scroll back to May 2009 to find their last clean sheet.
Travel further back in time to 1953, the year Going to the Match was painted, Bolton were a leading power in English Football, boasting a calibre of players including Nat Lofthouse. But there is no time for sympathy. Personally, I’d quite enjoy it if Bolton left London crying like Ian Beal on last nights episode of Eastenders. Arsenal, set your faces to Janine Butcher.

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