This is our penultimate Saturday three o’clock kick off of 2007. Madness.
This is a game we really need to win to keep our league momentum and confidence before we take on Liverpool and Manchester United. Although, having said that, a draw in this game might take some of the pressure off those two games, having won so many in a row. But we’re playing a managerless team who are only ahead of Derby on goal difference. We could be travelling to Anfield with twelve consecutive victories behind us, if we manage to beat Slavia Prague at Ashburton Grove on Tuesday. It’s a shame to have to do Spurs a favour in the relegation battle, but there we go. Despite their terrible start, Bolton won’t necessarily be a doddle. It’s still the same personnel that we used to routinely have trouble beating, and things could still go wrong. Need to be fully focussed.
This international break came at a relatively good time for us. Well, only if you consider it possible for an international break to come at any good time. It’s given time for Gallas, Eduardo and Rosicky to get match fit with their countries, before they come back to us ready to go at the start of a tough two months. Although we have lost RvP for a month to injury, which is the inevitable downside of internationals.
This is our nineteenth meeting with Bolton under Wenger. The last time they won away to Arsenal was in February 1994 in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Since then we’ve won five and drawn four in all competitions at home against them. This weekend we’re looking for our third consecutive victory against Bolton. They’ve never managed to beat us in the league at Highbury or Ashburton Grove.
Bolton have had a Spursesque start to the season, winning only one and drawing two of their first nine games. Guess it shows that the players that Walrusdyce brought to Bolton are only useful in his particular form of football.
Gallas, Rosicky, Senderos and Eduardo should all be available for this game. Van Persie misses a month with his knee injury. He is now our only injury concern, until Rosicky is out again.
Gallas should come back into the starting squad alongside Toure. Flamini will probably keep his spot alongside Fabregas in the middle. I’d still much rather see Diaby starting in the middle, atleast in home games against teams that are bound to sit back. He has proven that he can beat multiple players with ease, and in this season has added a rocket of a shot to his game. He has also proven that he’s not suited to the left side. In games where we can’t play flowing intricate football, having Diaby and Fabregas taking shots from outside the area could be the way forward. However, while Flamini is playing well with Fabregas, Wenger won’t drop him, and he can’t really be faulted for that.
Eduardo probably starts upfront, although having two lumps upfront in Adebayor and Bendtner against a team like Bolton could prove beneficial.
Subs: Fabianski, Gilberto, Diaby, Walcott, Bendtner
Heidur Helguson, Jlloyd Samuel, Ricardo Vaz Te and Blerim Dzemaili miss this game. Score. Anelka picked up a knock last weekend, no idea whether or not he’ll be fit.