I have this nervy sort of feeling for this game, part excitement part anxiety. So far we have been able to point at the game in hand to explain the points difference with the leaders. Now it’s time to make the game count. The excitement is obviously from our recent form. There seems to be no apparent cause for us to break stride. Anxiety, I guess, is natural given the long injury list that we have and the visitors’ sole claim to fame being a senseless physical game.
Bolton are a team I dislike more than the tiny Tots or the Mancs. It might not be easy for many fans to understand this sentiment but for me the sheer vileness of their game outweighs everything else. Each season I hope to see them relegated just so I don’t have to watch such atrocity on a football pitch. Hopefully, this time around they will succumb to the pressure and we will do our bit in pushing them down.
This young Arsenal squad is slowly regaining the belief they had at the start of the 07-08 season, but it’s been a while since we went through a complete season with the spirits high. Any unexpected result can adversely affect our fragile confidence. We need the three points.
Based on the first half of the season, there is no reason to expect anything other than an Arsenal win. Bolton haven’t kept a single clean sheet while Arsenal are the top scorers, that should point to a repeat of the scoreline from our opening league game. It will certainly be a nice way to start the second half of the season.
With so many injuries team selection should be easy for Arsene. A fit Denilson will take the place of Song, Traore will replace Silvestre and Fabianski will make way for Almunia. Arshavin will come in place of Vela and the rest of the team will be same as the winning combination that finished off the game at Upton Park.
Given the way Gallas and Vermaelen have dealt with the aerial threat in recent games, I have a feeling the visitors will struggle to create anything in this one. At the same time we cannot ignore the role Song played in making our defense tighter and it will be interesting to see if Denilson can bring in a similar physical approach. This will be another big test for the young Brazilian and one that can convince a lot of doubters if he passes it with flying colors.
I am also looking forward to Diaby in a more defensive minded role. In the absence of Song we might see two of our midfielders staying back to support the defense which can also affect our offensive threat and it will be interesting to see how the team achieves the balance. Many fans have been asking for a cover for Song and no one doubts the fact that we will miss him. How badly, we will soon find out.
I expect the team to look like,
Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore; Denilson, Ramsey, Diaby; Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin.
Here’s to a thumping win…