Bolton 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal maintained their EPL title challenge with an impressive first-half performance and a dogged second-half one against new Bolton manager Owen Coyle’s first selection.
Two typical Arsenal goals secured the points, Cesc Fabregas finishing superbly after a neat one-two with striker Eduardo to give the Gunners the lead and Eduardo the provider again for Fran Merida’s well-taken strike twelve minutes from time.
They were under pressure at the start of each half, particularly the second period. And if Bolton Wanderers Matthew Taylor hadn’t wasted a fine second-half chance, the Trotters may have got something out of the game.
But Arsenal’s, especially Fabregas’s, class told. And if they repeat this result in their much-postponed return EPL fixture at the Emirates this Wednesday, Arsene Wenger’s men will go top on goal difference over rampant Chelsea.
Injury problems saw manager Arsene Wenger give young Craig Eastmond his first EPL start in a holding midfield role.
But having weathered the early Wanderers storm, Arsenal could have had a 12th minute penalty when Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen appeared to upend Fabregas in the box, only for referee Phil Dowd waved away the appeals.
They took the lead on 28 minutes, Fabregas and Eduardo combining superbly in tightly-packed penalty area before Fabregas’s quick, low first-time finish beat Jaaskelainen to his right.
On 43 minutes Fabregas stabbed a fine chance wide from Andrei Arshavin’s cross after another incisive move, while Bolton’s Ivan Klasnic might have stolen an equaliser on half-time with cleaner contact on his right-foot shot.
Just past the hour, Taylor wasted Bolton’s best opportunity, blazing his left-foot shot over the bar after Klasnic’s excellent through ball.
Nine minutes later, Kevin Davies beat Arsenal’s offside trap but shot too early when clean through.
And Bolton paid for their profligacy when Eduardo’s deflected left-wing cross was beautifully controlled and swept into the net by Merida.
Tags: Arsenal, Bolton, Cesc Fabregas, Gunners, Fran Merida, Bolton Wanderers, EPL, Arsene Wenger, Ivan Klasnic, Eduardo