Bolton vs Arsenal: Hoping not to drop more points. Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on April 23, 2011 23:00
It is not easy to understand how we are still in the title race despite dropping so many cheap points this season, but maybe, Chelsea’s second place can help us understand why.
When Ray Wilkins was axed, Chelsea suffered what I consider to be the most difficult crisis suffered by a top team during the last three years yet because lately they managed to put together a string of positive results, that is, seven wins in their last eight games, they are now second and surely in a better mental state to go and fight it out with the Red Devils.
Seven wins. Not draws. In the meantime, we collected 16 consecutive positive results that according to our manager show that this team does not lack winning mentality.
Now someone who didn’t follow the English Premier League this season will definitely agree that getting a point or three in sixteen consecutive games is a great achievement but when you analyse the games, one by one, including last Wednesday’s derby against Spurs in which we (again) let a two-goal lead slip away, well, things are not as bright as our manager believes:
Draw – [A] Tottenham: 3-3
Draw – [H] Liverpool: 1-1
Win – [A] Blackpool: 1-3
Draw – [H] Blackburn: 0-0
Draw – [A] West Brom: 2-2
Draw – [H] Sunderland: 0-0
Win – [H] Stoke City: 1-0
Win – [H] Wolves: 2-0
Draw – [A] Newcastle United: 4-4
Win – [H] Everton: 2-1
Win – [H] Wigan Athletic: 3-0
Win – [A] West Ham United: 0-3
Draw – [H] Manchester City: 0-0
Win – [A] Birmingham City: 0-3
Draw – [A] Wigan Athletic: 2-2
Win – [H] Chelsea: 3-1
Total points available: 48
Total wins: 8
Total draws: 8
Total points collected: 32
Total points dropped: 16
I don’t expect our manager to say that had we won eleven games and lost five we would have one more point in the table, because that is pretty much clear to everyone, but how can you be happy about this “unbeaten run” when it includes the Newcastle game in which we gave away a four goal lead, the Liverpool draw that we were not able to keep in stoppage time and of course the Tottenham game in which we had a two-goal cushion?
Not to mention the two goalless draws – at home – against Blackburn and Sunderland and the Wigan Athletic game where we also failed to keep a lead. And the most worrying sign is – needless to say – the fact that this season is so similar to the last one and the one before in respect to letting leads slip away.
The reason why our manager is so happy with the unbeaten run beats me. In the meantime, there is a reason if Cesc Fabregas believes Arsenal lack a winning mentality, there is a reason if Patrick Vieira agrees and there is a reason if Paul Merson agrees as well.
Enjoying a 16-game unbeaten run means nothing when you’re third in the table and you’re the team who conceded most goals at home and most goals overall in the top four. Praising the players even when they don’t perform is not the right way to inject the right mentality into them.
Tomorrow we play a struggling Bolton side knowing that a defeat would put the word “finito” on our title hopes. But then again, according to our manager “nobody expected us to be where we are” so it seems our season will be archived as a success regardless what happens from now until the end of the season.
As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Not a difficult line-up to predict or choose as favourite. With Abou Diaby ruled out, the midfield should see the return of Jack Wilshere from the start with Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie up front.
Considering he preferred to walk instead of helping Gael Clichy out on the left, I very much doubt Andrey Arshavin will start tomorrow with Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner yet again on the bench.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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