Report: Arsenal 4-2 Bolton
Arsenal managed a win over Bolton on Wednesday to go top of the Premier League table as anticipated.
But, they did it the very hard way.
Wenger and his crew did not have to be told what was needed to leapfrog Manchester United to second and even Chelsea.
In fact, it was hard to argue that an Arsenal triumph was the script prior to kick-off tonight and should Owen Coyle’s men dare go against it, the Emirates Stadium will be buzzed.
It took only seven minutes for that to take place.
A deep cross was punted into Arsenal’s area, Clichy failed to fully boot it away, Vermaelen lost a header to Kevin Davies and the ball found Gary Cahill who fired it past a bewildered Almunia.
The Gunners had not even began their show yet, but there would be more incredible scenes at the Emirates to come.
On 28 minutes, Arsenal failed to deal with an aerial ball yet again and as Denilson looked to regain a loose ball from a corner-kick, he was adjudged to have fouled Lee Chung-Yong. Spot kick and Almunia had more to rue as he failed to parry away Taylor’s low shot after getting a touch of ball.
Arsenal were now up against it in reality, but not according to history. The last time they came from two goals down to win a league match was against this same Bolton side in March 2008.
So the comeback was certainly on when after relentless endeavoring by almost the entire team, Rosicky reduced the deficit through his own might. The Czech international raced onto the edge of the box and fired a stunner right into the goalkeeper’s near post.
That goal came just two minutes before the break and it was some perfect timing for a side trying to spark a fight back. Not just the goal could breath some spirit into them, but the feisty half-time team talk which would soon follow.
The Gunners did return like wounded lions after the restart and they found a goal just a quick as Bolton did at the beginning of the first-half. Seven minutes in, Gallas reminded everyone of his side’s urgency by winning possession from Mark Davies with a strong challenge.
Play was waved on and it resulted in Fabregas squeezing his way through a crowded Bolton territory to finish through the legs of Jussi Jaaskelainen from a tight angle.
The Spaniard jumped in delight knowing he had done the job of a true captain. Fabregas had handed the game back to Arsenal at 2-2 and with the points now there for the taking, Arsenal won their fifth corner kick of the match.
Bolton were equally untidy with their clearances and when the ball fell to Thomas Vermaelen right in the middle of the box in the 65th minute, the once prolific Belgian centre-back rediscovered his goalscoring touch, slamming the ball home with joy and of course, much, much relief in the case of Arsenal.
It had been a dramatic night, and while Arsenal looked to avoid further drama of a late Bolton equalizer, there was another thing on their minds. That would be going top of the table with at least a two-goal margin victory and to ensure that, Arshavin managed to trick his way through the box and lash the ball into the net with five minutes left.
Arsenal’s turnaround today matched the one they have just completed in the title race. After being 11 points adrift at some point in this long three-horse race, seeing Wenger’s side become league leaders was a wild possibility.
Even so, with only a mere 48 points, still in January and a run of tough fixtures on the way, winning the title is a wild possibility. But this time, their chances are as good as anyone’s if not better.