This is one of those games that's difficult to write about. Losing clearly hurts sure, but losing like that? That's what hurts the most. As I said in my preview, I was unable to watch the game, as I had to attend that pesky thing called high school. I did follow the game by texting the magic Google (for those of you unaware, in the States you can text Google for a wealth of information, including live scores, for free, check it out) and I had my Wanderers scarf in my lap the whole time. Unfortunately my passive support clearly wasn't enough. If you too missed the game, watch highlights here.
By all accounts Arsenal started the game horribly. Gary Cahill (a central defender) scored at 7 minutes after a horrorshow clearance by Clichy sent the ball straight to Kevin Davies' talented head, which subsequently sent the ball to Cahill's feet. Cahill took the shot off balance and with his weaker foot, but still powered it past Almunia. And that's how Bolton got the surprise lead at the Emirates.
On the 28th minute Denilson brought down dear Chung-Yong Lee in the box and Bolton were awarded a penalty. Matty Taylor stepped up to the mark, and while Almunia went the right way and got a hand to the penalty, it wasn't enough and the shot went sailing past. Taylor, who disappointed in our last clash with Arsenal had doubled Bolton's lead. His celebration was, as always, to kiss his wedding ring, which I think it terribly cute.
Bolton bossed the first half, dominating possession and looking like a legitimate football team, but Arsenal managed to get one in before half time. Zat Knight, who I so recently came to terms with, not only failed to properly mark Rosicky, but also managed to block Jaaskelainen's view, so that by the time he had realized that a shot on goal was taken, all he could do was watch the ball go in. Arsenal had put themselves back into the game just before half time.
The talking point of the match came shortly after half-time. Bolton midfielder, Mark Davies, was "tackled" by Gallas. 'Why did you put the word tackle in quotes Matilda?' I hear you ask. Well if you've watched the game and/or highlights you know. This was not a tackle as we know it. In the Premiership, especially Big Four teams, one expects a certain level of tackling. This is the kind of tackle I could have made. Instead of using the tried-and-true sliding in technique, Gallas merely stepped close to where he though the ball might be. In fact he stepped on Davies' ankle, causing it to bend in a way ankles are not supposed to bend. Now I've had a very similar injury (in rugby) and let me tell you, that hurts like hell. It has come out that it was not a fracture, which means he's torn ligaments (connective tissue from bone to bone) in all likelihood. The recovery time for this is variable (it took me 6 weeks to come back from mine) and it is incredibly easy to reinjure, once something like this happens the ligaments are pretty much permanently damaged.
Martin (as I'm pretty sure you'll be reading this) I'm about to disagree with you, which I rarely do. I think Gallas should've been sent off right there, not because the tackle was malicious, but because it was so astoundingly incompetent. Not only did he not come close to the ball, but even if the ball had been there, the tackle wouldn't have achieved much. It was dangerous and has a player, who only recently came back from a knee injury, on the sidelines. Regardless of the card it deserves, pretty much everyone can agree that it was a foul and that Bolton should have gotten a free kick, and Arsenal shouldn't have equalized.
What-ifs don't really get us anywhere though, and I'm not going to theorize on what would have happened had Wiley actually seen this, but it is fair to say it changed the game. Gallas will not face an inquiry by the FA, because Wiley has said that he saw the incident but deemed it to be a 50/50 tackle, disabling any action by the FA. While I think Coyle's cries of "assault" are melodramatic, it was undoubtedly a horrible tackle.
That's about all I have time for, but I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with our new feature Man of the Month and/or a news round up.