Bolton V Arsenal: A Thin Squad In The Thick Of Action

All the talk at the Reebok revolves around Owen Coyle and rightly so. Bolton have struggled this season and a new manager, with strong ties to the club, can only be beneficial.

The tactical battles will be interesting. Arsene reckons that a manager can only play with his style and Coyle will change the Bolton game to a passing one. Surely, no one can change the playing style of a team overnight! Especially, a style developed and perfected by such masters as Big Sam, Sammy Lee and Megson.

On one hand the Trotters will be fired up for the game, on the other they might find it hard to adapt to a new style. We have to wait and see which of the two has a higher impact. I am guessing that Coyle will not make too many changes to the way Bolton play, certainly not against Arsenal. They will come at us hard and fight for every ball while hitting it high and long at every opportunity.

Given their game style and our performance against Everton, some of us are still trying to figure out how Arsenal will adapt without Song. Throw the injuries to Denilson and Ramsey into the mix and it becomes a challenge even for Arsene. Le Boss was not very clear about the injuries to either of them but I am hoping he wont rush them back for this one if there is any doubt about their fitness.

Thankfully we have Rosicky back and hopefully he will stay fit for a longer period this time around. We really need a good show from him at the Reebok. Despite all our injuries we should have enough in attack to score a couple against a team that hasn’t kept a clean sheet all season long.

Our troubles are more on the defensive front and with the link between defence and attack. Diaby is the popular choice to fill that role and I have a feeling Arsene will ask him to curb his attacking instincts for this game.

I would like to Nasri in that role with Cesc too in a deeper position and Diaby playing the attacking midfielder. The main reason behind this thought is the worry that our lanky Frenchman holds on to the ball too often and could be a liability in, well, a holding role! The others will have to drop deep anyway, allowing Bolton to press us further up the pitch. So we might be better off allowing Diaby the freedom to roam in the Bolton half and take defenders on with his direct running.

There is some good news on the injury front with Clichy expected to make a return to the squad. Once again, I would prefer if he was eased in slowly. Back problems can be tricky and we can do without a Denilsonesque recurrence.

Our bench is likely to be full of youngsters even by our standards. In other words, the starting eleven has to do the job. The break must have given everyone enough time to regain their sharpness as we need the cutting edge against a physical side.

The starting line up is likely to be

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore; Diaby, Cesc, Nasri; Rosicky, Arshavin, Eduardo.

To be frank, I have a bad feeling about this one. We have had some poor results in pairs like the losses in Manchester, draws with Alkmaar and West Ham and then the defeats to Chelsea and Citeh. After last week’s result and with the team looking for a new balance, I can see another tough draw on the cards. Here’s hoping I am wrong.

9 Responses to Bolton V Arsenal: A Thin Squad In The Thick Of Action

  1. Jack Staniforth says:

    I`m no tactician but I would have thought ,for this game at least ,Fabregas would take over the role of Song and control the game from a deep central position
    leaving Diaby free to roam a little.

  2. 0.9 Calibre says:

    Excellent post! if I have to opine i just have to quote your whole post.. I am a big fan of playing Nasri deep and let diaby roam.. but i doubt the boss will go for it given the fact that diaby/Denilson have constantly partnered Song while Cesc went upfront.. We have to wait and watch.. Given that Bolton aren’t a great side on the break we might need both Rosicky and Diaby upfront while Cesc holds (Expecting Nasri to retain his position in the forward line.. ), Am glad you didnt forget the “Little Mozart” this time around.. He provides us with that cutting edge and he is a great player to have in the middle cos not only can he create and attack the ball, he really does track back and slides in well to win the ball! Am not particularly concerned about the first clash but its the second one on wednesday we have to worry about.. Even without Coyle any team playing us back to back would gain an intuitive grasp on our play and try to press harder in the second game, but with Coyle on board I think they’ll figure it out faster and come up with a better solution.. The back 4 selects itself.. Diaby, Rosicky and Cesc in midfield.. Upfront I’d love to see Arshavin go back to his old left position and Eduardo go central.. I feel it might be one way the Russian can find himself once again this season as he hasnt had a great last few games..

  3. goonerpom says:

    Firstly Id like to say I enjoy u posts there’s not many blogs I enjoy but yours is one of them. Just wanted to comment on the defensive midfield role, Diaby Cesc Nasri Rosicky are all too atacking it wuld blunt our attacks whilst giving inadequate cover Denilson has the attributes to do a good job as cover for Song. As he is injured I would hope Wenger goes for the next best midfielder with defensive instincts in the squad. If that is Eastmond,Coquelin or Frimpong so be it. They need to learn some time and I feel the team will be more balanced.

  4. Ashaver Moses says:

    What a wonderful post.Putting diaby in front of the defence wont do us much good,Arsene should allow him a free role while nasri take that role.Arshavin has a better flow when he runs the sides since eduado is picking up,up front so fast

  5. shashi says:

    i doubt about nasri in a defensive role.. cesc cud rather hold back with denilson.. while diaby and nasri attack on the flanks.. eduardo needs to up his game.. hes not playing great.. arshavin and eduardo can support diaby as he runs in the middle..

  6. aniruddh ingle says:

    I’ve just nominated your site for the soccerlens awards

  7. Vermaelen says:

    To be honest, I prefer to have Eastmond filling Song’s role. I doubt it would happen though. I feel Wenger would prefer not to change players out of position, so the front 3 would be Arshavin, Eduardo, Nasri. I think I sort of remember that Song will not be moved back to CB if one of them is injuried, so I’m going to say Nasri will not be moved back to midfield as well.

    Would Rosicky start? I think he will, but I do prefer Eastmond in there, with Rosicky as an impact-sub or to change the formation and approach like Cesc was against Villa

  8. Hong_gunner says:

    Choosing the team tonight is a very tricky business. While giving Diaby a free role is not a bad option, but i doubt its the best either. And more so when Song is not around. Yes, Diaby is an attacking player, but remember, ONLY when we have a steady possession on the ball. People tend to forget/overlook his defensive ‘off the ball’ contributions. Neither is Diaby a player who can link the play for a whole 90 minutes and isnt that sharp or imaginative for the classic no. 10 role when hitting on the break. He’s a whole lot better to move the team’s dynamics with his box-to-box play when we attack. Here’s my team for tonight:
    back 4
    cesc and diaby to share the defensive duties which enables better concentration in defence and chance for cesc to occassionally break forward. Eduardo plays a lot better through the centre with someone like rosicky behind him with his soft feets and imagination. All that said, i’ll be happy with a 0-1 win tonight.

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