Bolton Wanderers vs. Arsenal Preview

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Published: 02/02/2012

With their Premier League form continuing to nosedive, Arsenal could be vulnerable to another reversal when they make the trip up north to the Reebok Stadium on February 1, to face a Bolton Wanderers side that have enjoyed a fair amount of success over the Gunners in recent years.

The hosts will indeed be looking to build upon an impressive record against Arsene Wenger’s men, whom they beat at home last season to add to their previous Reebok successes over Arsenal from 2005 and 2006.

And with their recent 3-1 victory over Liverpool leaving them brimming with confidence and belief, Bolton will be intent on sticking yet another knife into the North London club who are falling away in the race for that elusive fourth place finish.

Bolton’s primary objective is of course to stave off the serious possibility of relegation – and the Trotters are still in big trouble despite hauling themselves out of the bottom three via that epic win over Kenny Dalglish’s side.

But now, perhaps for the first time this season, Bolton can seriously start thinking about looking upwards and making giant strides towards securing and preserving their top flight status.

And boss Owen Coyle finally appears to have worked a little bit of the magic which saw him do so well at Burnley before his controversial switch across Lancashire.

His own passionate, vocal display on the touchline against Liverpool almost seemed to act as a twelfth man to the Wanderers who looked like a completely different outfit to the one which has struggled so badly throughout the first half of the campaign.

With the hosts on the upturn, Arsenal are likely to be feeling a great deal of pressure at a venue which has far from been a happy stamping ground during Wenger’s tenure.

No doubt the hecklers will still be out by the time this fixture comes around as the Frenchman continues to rebuff suggestions that he has to spend money in the January transfer window to keep his team competitive.

But even if Wenger does succumb to the expectations and pressure of the Arsenal supporters regarding the club’s transfer policy, it may well be a case of too little too late.

Although their recent 1-2 defeat at home to Manchester United was a marked improvement on their 8-2 trouncing at Old Trafford earlier in the season, Arsenal still lacked any of their old spark and vigour which once had the majority of football fans regard them as the most exciting, fluid and entertaining side to watch in England.

Stale is perhaps the best word to describe Arsenal’s current squad and situation and things could go from bad to worse against Bolton.

The bookmakers have the Gunners down as 8/13 favourites for the match but that will surely fail to inspire even the craziest of punters going on recent form.

One has to now chalk a line through the majority of Bolton’s 2011-2012 league form if the Trotters are to be backed however their recent, comprehensive win over Liverpool is reason enough to side with them at an attractive looking 9/2 and Owen Coyle’s charges can move further away from the drop zone at Arsenal and the ailing Wenger’s expense.


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