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Arsenal v. Bolton, It's Time for Round Two

Matty and Cesc Whip Out the Handbags.

Matty and Cesc Whip Out the Handbags.

Arsenal again? It seems like just day-before-yesterday that we saw them! Ah yes that's because it was. Generally I try my hardest not to complain about a Wanderer's lot in life (a difficult task, I'm sure you'll agree), I try to look on the bright side, and I try not to blame luck for our failings. But really God? You really want to make us play Chelsea twice in 4 days, then, since that was enough, make us play Arsenal twice in 3 days? Really? It sounds mighty vengeful if you ask me... Anyway, self-pitying officially over, let's get to the football.

I'm not sure if you watched the game on Sunday, but if you're in need of a refresher, here's my report. Or if you'd enjoy a Goonerite take, have a look at Martin's report, over at your friendly Arsenal Offside. If you're really just too lazy to do either of those things then here's the match condensed: while Bolton had more convincing attacks, they couldn't finish them, Arsenal had few convincing attacks, but capitalized on their chances. The scoreline (2-0 to Arsenal) was fairly flattering and if Matty Taylor alone had actually finished his shots then it would've been a draw.

I'm sure Owen Coyle noticed this disturbing fact and has brought it up in training. I'm not sure what happened, because whatever our other weaknesses this season (and there were many), scoring was never one of them. In the league we've scored 1.36 goals a game, and it would be more in all competitions. The biggest issue was clearly the defense, we've lost by a margin of 4 goals 3 times this season, and in December alone we gave up leads a total of 5 times. On Sunday, even after so few days under Coyle's nurturing hands, the defense looked distinctly better, the back four were communicating, and marking their men, and they only made 2 stupid mistakes (of course that's all it takes to concede 2 goals).

We will be facing a severely depleted Arsenal side (if you care to pop on over to Arsenal Offside again, Martin's made a starting 10 out of their injured players), they'll be without some of their most dangerous players (van Persie, Song, Denilson, Nasri, I'm looking at you). But they will be at home, and I'm not sure how many Wanderers will want to/be able to make the trip down to London (again) on a weekday to cheer our boys on. I expect Arsenal to win, but I also expect Bolton to score, and hopefully only lose by a margin of one.

I won't be able to watch the match as I will be learning about the wonders of Pre-Calculus for the first bit, and then moving on to a lecture on the American Economy in the 19th Century (jealous?), but I will do a lot of research and hopefully make up for it. Keep an eye out for my match report and a little feature I'm working on called Man of the Month, first up, Gary Cahill. Get excited.