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Match Report


Posted Wed 01 Feb 12 at 23:23 PM

Report: Bolton 0 Arsenal 0

Wanderers would have felt they could have easily taken three points off Champions League-chasing Arsenal, after seeing a late penalty appeal turned down in what was yet another compelling game at the Reebok Stadium.

Mark Davies tumbled after skipping around Gunners stopper Wojciech Szczesny inside the last ten minutes only to see referee Chris Foy wave away the appeals.

Prior to that Arsene Wenger's side had twice hit the woodwork through skipper Robin Van Persie in the second period, though for the majority of the game Wanderers more than matched the Londoners.

All in all it was another solid display for the Trotters that extended the side's unbeaten run of games to four.

Bolton 0 Arsenal 0

Manager Owen Coyle reverted to the same starting line-up that had successfully dispatched Liverpool 11 days earlier.

As a result Gretar Steinsson, Zat Knight and Fabrice Muamba returned to the starting XI. None of Wanderers' January signings were involved, with Tim Ream's debut delayed due to a work permit, Ryo Miyaichi ineligible to play against his parent club and Marvin Sordell's Premier League registration still in the pipeline.

And although the Gunners' team coach rocked up at the Reebok just an hour prior to kick-off, Arsene Wenger's men very much raced out of the blocks.

Predictably skipper Robin Van Persie was at the fulcrum of all things good for the visitors. Inside five minutes the Dutchman's delicate feed sent Aaron Ramsey in the clear who could only stab an effort into the midriff of Adam Bogdan.

Van Persie then saw a shot blocked following Theo Walcott's pull back before the best chance of the opening 45 fell the way of the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Van Persie somehow engineered half-a-yard of space inside the Wanderers penalty area before rolling the ball into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain, who off balance sliced an effort wide with the goal gaping.

Wanderers were very much up against it, as Arsenal weaved pretty patterns in the midfield areas with Alex Song readily available to assume possession. Though for all the Gunners' dominance, Coyle's charges didn't shy away from what was rapidly turning into an absorbing affair.

David Ngog, fighting a lone battle up front, persisted in his attempts to unsettle the giant Per Mertesacker and co and the best Bolton chance fell his way.

A punt over the Arsenal defence fell into the path of the former Liverpool man, who stormed down on goal and from an acute angle saw his effort thwarted by Szczesny.

Ngog then fired within a whisker of the post following an unorthodox flick from David Wheater, as Wanderers grew more and more assured as the half went on.

Though before the break Bogdan had to react well to hare off his line and prevent Theo Walcott from breaking the deadlock after another wonderfully weighted slide rule ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain.

After the interval Arsenal continued to look dangerous when in possession.

Van Persie twice hit Bogdan's woodwork in Arsenal's two best attempts of the half. First, he ghosted in at the near post to direct Bacary Sagna's teasing cross onto the near post via Bogdan's left fingertips before seeing an exquisite right footed chip from the edge of the area clip the crossbar.

Though, as had happened in the opening 45, as the half went on Bolton began to look the more likely team to break the deadlock.

Gretar Steinsson volleyed wide after Ngog had seen a goalbound header come back off Laurent Kocielny, before Mark Davies was seemingly felled in the area late on.

The creative midfielder who had been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks picked up a loose ball after Nigel Reo-Coker had made a nuisance of himself on the edge of the penalty area. After maintaining his balance he then skipped around the frame of the onrushing Szczesny only to tumble with the goal gaping.

The referee waved away the penalty appeals, instead choosing to call time on a goalless, but entertaining affair.

Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker (Pratley 89), M Davies, Petrov (Tuncay 81), Ngog (K Davies 74) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Klasnic, Boyata, Riley)

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Arteta, Van Persie, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Henry 69), Ramsey (Rosicky 80), Song (Unused substitutes: Fabianski, Ju-Young, Arshavin, Benayoun, Coquelin)

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