It’s Fab to be back

Arsenal 4-1 Bolton

Good weather, good mates, good football. A fine cocktail that makes for a very pleasant Saturday afternoon indeed.

Bolton going down to ten men might have made things ultimately a bit easier, but I don’t think 4-1 flattered us at all. Poor old Arshavin for one must be wondering how he ended up without a goal to his name, but he wasn’t the only one who was one-on-one and missed – Chamakh got in on the act too. Yes, there was only one goal in it until the sending off but offensively, Arsenal bristled with creativity all afternoon.

All this too without three important attacking players. As I briefly mentioned yesterday, it bodes well that all it takes to compensate for the lack of van Persie, Walcott and Bendtner is a little shuffling of the pack. Rosicky, Wilshere, Fabregas, Song and Arshavin supporting Chamakh is a tidy unit indeed – and still left us Denilson, Diaby, Nasri and Jollygood on the bench.

Picking a stand-out player from that front six is not easy but it would have to be between the inimitable Fabregas and, for his second half performance, Alex Song. For his sheer vision and range of passing, Fabregas would get it though – wherever his head or body was away to Blackburn, they were back here and he was in flying form yesterday. He split the Bolton defence two or three times with ease; it was sublime.

That said, the best pass of the day came from Rosicky, who carved an Arshavin-sized hole in the Bolton back line early in the game. Shame Arshavin couldn’t convert it.

The goal that was and inevitably will be talked about was Jollygood’s – he ran onto another Fabregas splitter and side-footed home a lovely fourth. It was preceded by 26 ole-assisted passes. Gorgeous.

But perhaps Song’s goal was better. Not only was it the 1,000th league goal under Wenger, but the dinked finish was a mixture of persistence and delicacy. He was fabulous in the second half.

There was a niggly edge to the game at times, often encapsulated by the brute force of Davies, but I wouldn’t say it was a dirty game overall. Nevertheless, ref Atwell dished out a red and four yellows (slightly down on his season’s average) and we await the news on Diaby – “It is ankle or shin – he cannot move his leg at the moment so we will see” said Wenger. Amazingly, the tackle on him was not even a yellow. We can but hope that Diaby is not out for a Diaby.

Defensively, I’ll buck the consensus of some by saying we did pretty well. OK, so Koscielny (otherwise commanding) made a bad mistake for the Bolton goal, but given that Wenger had made three changes at the back, and one of them was making his debut, I thought we were pretty solid. Squillaci made a promising debut.

It’s not a scientific observation, but from where I was sitting, I was generally, the error aside, impressed with Koscielny’s heading. He was popping up all over the place and nodding it away.

Overall, with 10 points from 12 it has been an excellent start to the season. Next stop, Champions League.

Right, I’m cutting this ramble short and heading off on a bacon hunt.

Enjoy your Sunday.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Booland

    Totally agree.

    Our defense was solid and they played with great concentration and attitude. Since it was a makeshift, you would expect a couple of slip ups, but we only made one! However, it was his back to back error.

    Anyway, I love Arsene’s REAL new signings, this season. They just have been superb so far.

    Chamakh is simply awesome.

    It was strange to see Song play an advancing role in the second half, but it seemed Wenger played the formation: 4-3-2-1. Two Defensive Midfielders just behind the striker.. so from the back Fabregas can run the show..

  2. oparsenal

    Splendid review of a superb performance.

  3. StevieG

    Although inevitable Mr Hansen on MOTD still gives us no credit for our defensive efforts from where I was watching apart from the indecision of the conceded goal..Squillaci and Koscielny played really well and won everything in the air.Overall that must have been twenty times plus and against Bolton and cousin Kevin thats pretty good going.
    Squillaci displayed composure and worked the ball out of defence well and was strong and accurate in the tackle…
    Looks like a decent bit of business.
    Koscielny will become a fans favourite he is certainly no Cygan or Pates.
    Although after a solid performance at Blackburn Mr Almunia again caught well yet reserves the ability to do something a little bit unorthodox just to keep our blood levels on the rise…
    Still it would’nt be The Arsenal without a little bit of extra drama…

  4. M

    Why do you call Vela – Jollygood?

  5. M

    Don’t worry, it just clicked!

  6. Sajit

    RG, would be great if you could update your blog a wee bit more often since I love reading what you write.. still visit this site on an almost daily basis 🙂

  7. goonertank

    Nice review.

    I totally agree that Koscielny was excellent. Not only his heading away but his anticipation was excellent. He aggressively presses the opponent and marks them so very tight indeed. I’m almost certain the davies headbutt on him was out of pure frustration.

    Not too sure about squill. But I’m sure he is just adjusting and building match fitness.

    A great display and I agree with AW when he says 2yrs ago we wouldn’t have carved out a win.

    There is a definite maturity emerging about this squad.

    Even vela contributed!

  8. oparsenal

    @sajit: East Lower is my home page and the summer dry spell almost killed me. Love my Goaty.

  9. FFRR

    main reason Arsenal kept the pressure on for full 90 mins cd be the competition for places …. Rosicky, Walcott, Bend, RVP, Diaby,Denilson, Ebueo need to compete to play

  10. gavin gregory

    so gutted for Fab picking up an injury, he looked like he was coming back to form. Hope hes ready for the Chelski game

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