Bendtner Breaks Bolton's Resistance For Arsenal

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    Registration date : 2009-01-11

    Bendtner Breaks Bolton's Resistance For Arsenal

    Post by 1#Arsenal on Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:23 pm

    rsenal stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games with an 84th miniute from Nicklas Bendtner after Bolton - who've now lost four on the trot in League and Cup - had provided stubborn resistance and looked on course to frustrate the Gunners.

    Arsenal centre-back Kolo Toure was back from injury and named as captain in the absence of Cesc Fabregas, while Johan Djourou and Denilson were also back in the side. Bolton were missing suspended captain Kevin Nolan, and Chris Basham made his full debut, but with so many injuries, manager Gary Megson could name only four substitutes. However, the Arsenal bench boasted only Nicklas Bendtner as the only recognised first-team player.

    Bolton set their stall out in very defensive fashion, but their plans were nearly undone earl;y on when Samir Nasri picked out Robin van Persie and the Dutchman showed superb control, flicking the ball up before volleying just over the bar as Arsenal took control.

    A ball from Abou Diaby thumped straight into the face of Ricardo Gardner, who needed some treatment, before Johan Elmander limped off and had to be replaced by Mustapha Riga, leaving Bolton's bench even more threadbare.

    Arsenal were dominating possession but failing to penetrate Bolton's dogged defence, abnd it wasshaping up to be another frustrating afternoon for the home fans at the Emirates. Wanderers' first attempt on goal didn't arrive until after the break, when Matty Taylor's header was comfortably saved by Manuel Almunia.

    But Bolton's game-plan was working well, with Arsenal huffing and puffing but failing to find a way through the visitors' massed defence.

    Carlos Vela came on for Diaby, before Nasri played a ball that put Emmanuel Adebayor clean through, but the Togo striker dwelt too long before shooting and saw his effort blocked by Andy O'Brien when heshould have done better.

    The outstanding Van Persie hit the post with a low, close-range shot as Arsenal went close to breaking the deadlock, and as the pressure on Bolton mounted, Kolo Toure forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into an excellent save with an effort from outside the box.

    Bendtner came on for Emmanuel Eboue and immediately sent a header straight at Jaaskelainen from close range, but it was the Dane who finally made the breakthrough, Van Persie crossing from the left and Bendtner showing real determination to slide in ahead of his defender at the far post to poke the ball into the net.

    Bolton had parked the proverbial bus in front of the goal in a 4-5-1 formation and made life difficult for the Gunners, who without the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott were struggling for a creative spark. But the Trotters were guilty of a lack of concentration on the goal, though they appeared to be tiring and of course were themselves handicapped by suspensions and injuries.

    Danny Shittu and O'Brien had worked stoically at the back supported by an industrious midfiel;d, and they might have equalised almost immediately - Kevin Davies having a golden opportunity but shooting straight at Almunia from eight yards.

    Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor, Van Persie.
    Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere, Bendtner, Bischoff, Gibbs.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Basham, Shittu, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander, Davies.
    Subs: Bogdan, Riga, Fojut, Obadeyi.

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