Arsenal vs Bolton: 1-0, full-time report and player ratings – Why wait so much to make changes?
Written by Chris on January 10, 2009 18:31
We had to wait until the 83rd minute to find a goal which seemed to never come and another frustrating afternoon can be archived, thankfully with three points under our belt.
The second half was no better than the first one in terms of frustration. In fact, our first goal opportunity came in the 61st minute when Clichy picked Adebayor in the penalty area, who did well to turn but his shot was weak and easily saved by Jaaskelainen. Two minutes later, Carlos Vela replaced Abou Diaby and with Nasri taking Diaby’s position and Carlos moving on to the left, the match – as expected – came to life.
In the 64th minute, Nasri picks Adebayor who beats the offside trap, is through on goal, but takes way too long to fire his shot and Andy O’Brien blocks. Five minutes later, man-of-the-match Van Persie combines brilliantly with Adebayor, makes his way into the penalty area, turns two Bolton defenders and goes for goal with his right foot but his effort hits the post. The last of consecutive efforts from Arsenal came with a Kolo Toure long-range effort which Jaaskelainen had to save.
As frustration kept on growing, we took a deserved lead. Clichy does well to pick Van Persie on the left, his delicious cross is met to perfection by Bendtner to make it 1-0. Having missed two easy passes, Nicklas didn’t have the best of impacts on the match after replacing Eboue but it was utterly sad to hear some individuals applauding him when easy passes reached their destination. His answer, to all that, was brilliant.
Could the frustration end there? Of course not. Just one minute after the goal, Bolton almost went level. Kevin Davies is picked in the penalty area but his shot from very close range is straight at Almunia who blocks. That would have been harsh on us. The final chance of the match came in the 86 minutes with Carlos Vela making his way onto the left but his cross was cleared by Bolton’s goalkeeper.
It’s not easy to describe such a frustrating experience. Knowing that your side is not as strong as the opposition is one thing but what Bolton put on show today was of incredible sadness. Other teams came here to defend, but at least they did have counter-attacking as a way of coming forward. Bolton didn’t even do that, they were happy to sit back, defend and hope for a draw which almost came. No intention to be rude, but I hope they get relegated if that is what they have to offer to the Premiership.
As for Arsenal, I will never understand why Wenger waits so much to make changes. It was clear from the first minute that Denilson and Diaby were liabilities to the side, failing miserably to make the impact central midfielders should have on a match. How many times did Nasri move to a central position, almost clashing with Denilson? Samir was the one who actually tried to invent, to create, the other two were virtual spectators. I mean come on, I’m no expert, far from that, but why is Wenger not seeing things which I have been seeing for months?
Almunia: 5 – Hmmm, where did the Manuel who played away at Fenerbahce go? Twice lacked in communication with Toure and tentative through out.
Clichy: 7 – A living hero. He may make mistakes at the back which cost us points, but he even chases the ball outside the pitch to keep the match going. So full of heart.
Toure: 6,5 – He may have had one or two shaky moments at the back, but we need him, especially in matches like these where defenders need to get forward as well.
Djourou: 6,5 – Confirming more and more how he is our “only regular” at the back.
Sagna: 7 – Provided a much-needed support on the wing.
Denilson: 4 – I think also I am capable of doing 90% of the things he did out there. Just walk and pass, and he’s supposed to take the Cesc role? I’m the new Fabregas if so.
Diaby: 4 – Another disappointing match, no impact at all, gave the ball away a number of times.
Eboue: 6,5 – I did like Emmanuel today. With Bolton defending like they did, he tried to push more into the penalty area and did pretty well.
Nasri: 7 – He’s finally providing consistent performances. But Arsene, please, move him in the center already.
Adebayor: 4 – Something is wrong with Emmanuel. That he misses a glorious chance is no flash news but he failed to provide the usual running and strength we’re so much used to.
Van Persie:8 – Man of the match. In a match in which we had very little chances, he was almost always involved in them. The cross in the move which led to the goal was pure class.
Vela: 6,5 – Again influential. He provides something which other players cannot by running at defenders, creating space and winning free-kicks.
Bendtner: 6,5 – He was called into action to provide something up front, no? And he did it – top marks for a great finish.
Ramsey: No Vote. – Came in just to get a yellow and show us he’s yet to learn what unselfish means. Come on Aaron, you’re good, but keep it simple out there!