Struggling Bolton Wanderers hosts confident Arsenal in a tea-time kick off today (20 August 2008) at the Reebok Stadium. However, the home advantage may not solace to Bolton’s recent stumbling form in the premier league that much, considering the fact that they must face Arsenal who have been playing with sheer dominance in their last couple of away fixtures in the premier league. Though Arsenal got off to a mediocre start against Dynamo Kiev in their Champions League campaign in the midweek, it is clear that Arsenal is favorite against Bolton Wanderers today.
Match: Bolton Wanderers vs Arsenal; English Premier League 2008-2009
Date: 20 September 2008, Saturday
Venue: Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England
Kick off: 17:30 (British Standard Time)
Live on TV: Setanta Sports
Well, Bolton Wanderers will play before the home fans and will have less pressure than what Arsenal will carry with them, given that fact that Arsenal has no other option, except picking up three points from the match in order to go hand-in-hand with Chelsea and Liverpool in the title race. Arsenal is currently in third place in the league table with 9 points from 4 premier league games, just a point shy of Chelsea as well as Liverpool. Chelsea has a tricky encounter with Manchester United on Sunday, while Liverpool will take on debutant Stroke City today in their respective fixture. If they lost points in their respective matches this week and Arsenal can churn out another away victory, then the Gunners might find them at the top of the league table by Sunday.
Since their defeat at Fulham last month, Arsenal has been in an excellent form so far. Last week they thrashed Blackburn Rovers away 4-0 and in the midweek they picked up a point from their visit to Dynamo Kiev in Champions League thanks to a late equalizer from Captain Williams Gallas. It is true that a ‘Big Four’ match-up yet to come in their way to face a real test of their strength in the premier league this season, but Arsene Wenger boys seem to be in the right with a number of key players currently playing some of their best football. England’s new hero Theo Walcott has been in a clinical form in the wing, while Emmanuel Adebayor pulled off a hat-trick in their triumph over Blackburn Rovers. Wenger might rely on young Dane Nicklas Bendtner to hand a place in the starting line up against Bolton Wanderers, considering Wenger’s indication to rotate his squad.
Bolton Wanderers, on the other hand, has not been at their prime over the last couple of weeks. Since their victory in the opening match of the league against Stroke City, Bolton Wanderers could not find their form back yet, standing in 13th place in the league table with only 4 points from 4 matches. After the opening match triumph, Bolton lost to Newcastle United and Fulham, while drew against debutant West Bromwich Albion. However, the Trotters suffered perhaps the biggest blow last month when they lost to League One side Northampton Town in Carling Cup.
Bolton manager Gary Megson has said that his side needs to go about it in the right manner. He has also cautioned his players saying that Bolton would find tougher challenge from Arsenal than what they did from Fulham in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat.
Gary Megson - "We have to go about it in the right manner. If we don't, then we'll get absolutely skated by them because they have even more quality than Fulham."
Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal needs extra mental resources to pull off a satisfactory result away at Bolton Wanderers, but he has vowed that he has great mental strength as well as quality in the side. He has termed Bolton as a good side and thinks nobody likes to go to Bolton as they play with great commitment.
"We are prepared for another away game where we will need extra mental resources to get a good result.
"We have a great mental strength in the side and also quality.
"We have either been really good or really bad there, lost or won, nothing really in between.
"But also Bolton for years had a good side - they still have - and that is why nobody liked to go to Bolton because everybody knows usually they give great commitment."
Arsenal will be without French midfielder Samir Nasri who is yet to recover from a knee injury that he sustained while on international duty. Another Summer signing Mikael Silvestre is also out with muscular problem with Eduardo, Tomas Rosicky and Amary Bischoff are among the long term absentees. Abou Diaby needs few more weeks to shake off his thigh injury.
Bolton Wanderers is still missing their record signing Johan Elmander as he needs one more week to recover from hamstring injury. Matthew Taylor is out with ankle injury, while Gary Cahill will miss Arsenal’s visit due to suspension. So, Bolton Wanderers’ attacking line up seems to be very week.
Online Live Score and Updates
Here, I am going to give some names of online live score websites from where you can get live score and updates of the match:
Live Football Scores
Arsenal will go into the match as a favorite, but Bolton Wanderers might play spirited football as they have nothing to lose against Arsenal. While Arsenal will play for three points, Bolton will be happy even with a draw against Gunners. So, the pressure, for sure, is now on Arsenal, but the Gunners have quality and talent, and most importantly, they have someone like Arsene Wenger behind them to guide. So, I think, it will be a competitive match today at the Reebok Stadium today.