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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Sep 11 at 17:55 PM

Report: Arsenal 3 Wanderers 0

Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium as a clinical second-half performance denied Wanderers any points in North London.

After going to the break with the scores level, Robin Van Persie netted a brace, the first of which arrived 46 seconds after the restart.

Alex Song also got himself on the scoresheet with a fine curling effort in the latter stages of the game.

Bolton had to play the final 35 minutes with ten men after David Wheater was sent-off for a professional foul on Theo Walcott.

Arsenal 3 Wanderers 0

Having won at Aston Villa in midweek, Owen Coyle kept faith with the same 4-5-1 formation, however, there were five changes in personnel as Jussi Jaaskelainen, Paul Robinson, Nigel Reo-Coker, Zat Knight and Martin Petrov all returned to the starting line-up.

Darren Pratley was the only man to keep his place in the team for the third successive game, and it was the former Arsenal apprentice who came closest to breaking the deadlock with just a matter of minutes played.

A free-kick just inside the Arsenal half was floated into the box by Martin Petrov, and after David Wheater headed the ball into the danger zone, Pratley's prodded volley was acrobatically palmed away by Wojciech Szczesny.

Equally, there was an early opportunity for the hosts as Gervinho got a run on goal following Mikel Arteta's slide-rule pass. But the Ivorian's first touch was too heavy and Jussi Jaaskelainen was on full alert to claim the ball at the feet of the striker.

After a confident opening by Bolton, Arsenal slowly began to edge themselves more and more into the game. The main dangerman was Van Persie, and a curling effort from Dutchman, 30 yards from goal, missed the target by the narrowest of margins.

As expected, it was the hosts that forced most of the play but Wanderers dug in to keep the score at nil-nil at half-time, although there were several decent openings for Arsenal.

Gervinho fired over from outside the area, Koscielny shinned a volley wide, while Paul Robinson and David Wheater made crucial blocks.

But in the whole the only glitch for Bolton inside the first period was when David Ngog limped off with an injury after 20 minutes. Kevin Davies was the Frenchman's replacement.

Just a minute after the restart and Arsenal took the lead as Van Persie struck a clinical near-post finish past Jaaskelainen. The Gunners skipper weaved an opening on the edge of the box, before taking the ball wide and rifling a fierce left-foot finish into the corner of the net.

Wanderers' opening to the second half was to get more frustrating as ten minutes later David Wheater was sent for an early shower for allegedly tugging back Walcott 30 yards from goal.

Contact seemed minimal as the England man went to ground following Aaron Ramsey's well-weighted pass, but referee Mark Clattenburg issued a straight red card and the former Middlesbrough man was dismissed for a professional foul.

Dedryck Boyata was introduced as Coyle made a tactical reshuffle, and the Manchester City loanee's first contribution was to stick out a boot and deflect wide an Arteta shot from the edge of the box.

Down to ten men, Bolton faced an uphill task as Arsenal made the most of their numerical advantage, with Jaaskelainen being forced into a hat-trick of saves; denying Koscielny, Ramsey and Van Persie in quick succession.

Arsenal were in full flow as they looked for the second, but Bolton came close to levelling the scores with a fluid counter-attack involving both wide players. Petrov set Eagles away with a defence splitting pass but after taking a touch to set himself, the former Burnley man drilled his shot straight at Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny.

Arsenal did double their lead on 71 minutes as Van Persie netted for the second time with a tidy close-range finish. Walcott escaped down the right and centred for the striker, who stuck out a boot to turn the ball over the line from just a couple of yards out.

Walcott himself could have had two goals in the latter stages, although Jaaskelainen deserved plenty of credit for blocking the first effort with a sprawling save after the forward had breached the Bolton offside trap.

The Gunners completed the scoring in the 89th minute when Alex Song twisted and turned on the edge of the area before unleashing an 18 yard effort into the top corner of the goal.

Next up for Wanderers is a visit from Chelsea a week on Sunday.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Arteta (Rosicky 82), Van Persie (Chamakh 85), Walcott, Ramsey, Song, Gervinho (Arshavin 78), Gibbs (Unused Subs: Santos, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabianski, Frimpong)

Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Robinson, Wheater, Knight, Eagles (M Davies 71), Muamba (Boyata 56), Pratley, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Ngog (K Davies 21) (Unused Subs: Bogdan, Tuncay, Gardner, Kakuta)

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