Due to my own schedule constraints this week I was not able to get out a match reflection for the Bolton game in a timely manner. Due to work constraints (surprise Wednesday 2:00 meeting!) & the general plight of being an American who does not get Fox Soccer Plus, I have also not yet been able to watch Wednesday’s Champions League match against Olympiakos. Both those unfortunate things being e case, I’ll give a quick & dirty & horribly tardy reflection on Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win over Bolton Wanderers.
Coming into the match I expected as easy of a exult as could reasonably be expected from this year’s Arsenal squad. Bolton came in to The Emirates bottom of the table & had the Prem’s worst road record in 2010/11. That being the case, the first half was terribly frustrating, as Arsenal were sloppy & sluggish throughout the first 45′. Bolton seemed content to clog the middle & slow the game down, and Arsenal looked as vulnerable as ever on set pieces. There was a lot of standing around, & even Alex Song, who has been a consistently high level performer this year when not suspended, looked out of sync. 0-0 at half was fair, and that’s what worried me.
Oh captain, my captain! Nearly straight off the second half whistle Robin van Persie put the club on his back & put us up 1-0. Once Gary Cahill’s fill-in was sent off in the 54′ the 3 points were all there For the taking, and for once, this Arsenal team finished an opponent off. RvP scored his 100th goal with the club, set up well by a nice 1-2 between Ramsey & Walcott followed by Theo’s blistering pace & a great cross into the box. Walcott really gave Bolton fits the whole second half, despite picking up a knee injury late that kept him out against Olympiakos. Song finished Bolton off with a truly amazing strike. Honestly you haven’t seen it you need to find the highlight. Song has been in top form this year & thoughts early, I can see this being his best season yet for the Gunners.
Most of all it was nice to get a comfortable win, and to see a dominant squad, if only for a half & with the benefit of a man advantage for most of at half. I was encouraged to see Arsenal finish off the game by getting 2 & ultimately 3 goals clear, as no 1 goal lead seems safe with the current state of our back line.
Now for the (painfully obvious) awards:
Man Of The Match – Robin van Persie (“Mr. Century”)*
*No other Stan’s Army Awards were given for this match so as to not distract from the captain’s truly great accomplishment. Hats off Robin, and please don’t leave us this summer like Those Two Who Must Not Be Named did this past one.