Post-Match Thoughts + Player Ratings: RvP Lifts Arsenal to Bolton Win
From the initial confusion of whether DStv had actually succumbed to rival fans’ jokes of moving Arsenal matches to Cartoon Network, it was pleasing to see the Gunners get a convincing league win with Bolton Wanderers falling 3-0 at the Emirates.
The first half ended goalless but the visitors came closest to opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock after a smart touch from Darren Pratley off Wheater’s header forced keeper Szczesny to pull a top save.
Robin van Persie then saw a shot teed to him by Mikel Arteta sail just wide of Jaaskelainen’s goal and Gervinho also saw an effort sail just over as Arsenal steadily gained control of the match but no goals came.
We however only had to wait a minute of the second half for a goal and it was van Persie with the goal as Aaron Ramsey laid on the assist for the Dutchman to fire home from a tight angle. That coupled with a straight red card for Bolton’s Wheater sparked Arsenal to life and Jaaskelainen was forced to make a string of saves from the Arsenal surge for a second goal which duly and deservedly came for van Persie, his 100th for the club after good work on the flank from Walcott.
And with minutes to go, Alex Song completed the scoring with a curling effort. Before then, Walcott showed a lack of composure when with a galaxy of time and space when one on one with Jaaskelainen, shooting straight at the keeper from well outside the Bolton penalty area.
The England international however would go off with what seems a knee injury. “He felt a sharp pain in his knee and at the moment he is with the doctor.” said manager Arsene Wenger in the post-match conference on Walcott’s situation; the last bit of news we need following that of Wilshere’s.
Overall, good win that has lifted the Gunners up to 12th on the table. Shrugged off the early physical bit of the game and made ourselves confortable. Defense looked shaky at the start but gained confidence as the game wore on. Next up for the Gunners now is Greek side Olympiacos in the Champions League.
Szczesny – 7.5
Did very well to keep out Pratley’s effort early on. I feel had that gone in, we’d have been in for a long day hence, crucial contribution from him then and good presence overall… you’d think he’s some 31 year old veteran.
Sagna – 7
Matched the Bolton player’s grit and provided the goal for Song with the cut back. Good contribution from the Frenchman.
Koscielny – 6.5
Gave away the free kick that led to Pratley’s chance early on. Did well afterwards though, aerially as well.
Mertesacker – 6.5
Good positioning. Occasionally showed some eagerness to go forward and be part of build-up play.
Gibbs – 6
Wasn’t really impressed by Gibbs. Still not assured tracking back but the Bolton side never really posed a threat.
Ramsey – 6.5
Looked settled on the ball at times and fed RvP for the first goal. At other times, he wasn’t so assured.
Song – 7.5
Tussled well in the midfield but I was impressed with his passing today including the one cross field that put Walcott in a world of his own against Jaaskelainen. Sad to see that come to nothing. Completed a very good game with a well taken goal.
Arteta – 7
Impressed with his passing as well including one in the first half that split the Bolton defence and put Gervinho through. He’s starting to synch into the team and that’s good for us.
Walcott – 6
Gets a 6 but was actually the worst player on the field for me. Did very well on the flanks and his link up play with RvP was good time and again. But you must show good composure with that sort of opportunity coming to you, especially with your national team manager watching. Sadly had to go off injured though, hopefully it’s not so bad.
Gervinho – 6
Good game from the Ivorian. First touch let him down a couple of occasions though, especially when put through by that Arteta pass.
RvP – 9
We’ll be in real trouble if ever we’re without this man her. Great overall contribution and loved how he scored the second. Tested Jaaskelainen three or four times and got stuck in at times. Sterling performance from the captain.
Ample bit of time to run about the Bolton defense, teed van Persie in the box but that came to nothing.
Good to him back from injury. At least now we know there’s a bit of depth in the squad that won’t make a week’s absence from Benayoun much felt.